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Thursday, April 5. 2012
Each single pound you weigh adds 4 lbs. of pressure to your knee joints when walking, and more when running or climbing stairs.
Thus (obviously) if you are 20 lbs. overweight, your knees experience it as equivalent to an 80 lb. backpack - plus the normal effect of the rest of your ideal weight. Knees were not designed for 80-lb. backpacks 24 hrs./day. Over years, the damage increases of course until, one sad day, you finally begin to feel the accumulated damage.
Walking when overweight is brutal to knees and, from the knee point of view, probably is to be minimized until losing weight. Driving is kinder. Being carried by slaves in a litter is even better because it is kinder to Gaia.
Besides trauma (eg accidents, athletic injuries, athletic overuse and related overuse as in dance), extra weight is the main cause or exacerbation of knee arthritis. It's all about gravity and the pounding your knees take with every step.
Unless the idea of knee replacement appeals to you, the kindest thing you can do for your knees (or your hips, for that matter), is to lose weight - or to be carried around town. Or, like you see in WalMart, maybe Medicare will buy you a $25,000 electric wheelchair.
Americans eat too much, and far too many carbs than is good for them. (Soon, I'll repost the Dr. Bliss diet which I follow diligently to stay under 130 - plus lots of athletics. It is essentially carb-free, except at Birthday Parties and special occasions. Absolutely no fruit allowed - fruit is sugar and a sugary dessert, and there is nothing "healthy" about it.) Here are some links about weight and arthritis.
Happy Knee photo via Theo
Image below is Cleopatra, keeping her knees youthful and healthy.
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"Being carried by slaves in a litter is even better because it is kinder to Gaia.
That is so true, but it's really have to find strong healthy slaves these days.
So being a "couch potato" is a good idea?
"...individuals who lost 10 lbs. would be subject to a total of 48,000 less pounds of pressure for every mile walked." Or stood for same time, as in working a cash register in a department store.
Possibly well-intentioned and may even work on a few, but mostly convinces me to skip any other publication from them.
Wrong. It is walking, running, etc. that multiplies the impact on the joint. Standing does not multiply it.
Having the Left ACL repaired\replaced (along with other repairs), and the right one not much better (I'm actively dodging the Doc, 'cause I remember the HELL PostOp recovery\PhysTheropy was for the left knee), I know the subject REALLY WELL.
Sports (football, cross country, etc), and active teen stuff, military service (yes, 120lbs+ rucksack marches do terrible things to knees, hips, etc, along with 100+ para-drops (night-time blind landings are the worse...)), plus current family activities have held their toll. GeoCaching is fun, but not on hurting knees...
Are they getting any closer to android bodies or body part cloning?
My younger brother will eventually need a hip replacement. The Doc claimed it was because he ran cross country in HS.
His wife has bad knees. My theory is that it is mostly hereditary but she did play basketball and is overweight.
Knees aside, how much more strain is added to the spine by every extra pound of belly fat?
I am probably 15 lbs over weight. I need to work harder and eat less.
Your math fails to take into consideration the fact that the body strengthens to compensate for the increased avoirdupois.
(The mind also compensates by telling you to sit down—and stay there.)
The problem is that the knee and hip joints cannot compensate for that. Muscles can, joints cannot. Sorry. Your plan does not work.
I happen to spend my days as an Ortho PA assisting in total joint replacements. An important point missed here is the effect of obesity on the surgery itself and also on the recovery.
The technical aspects of performing a total hip arthroplasty on a 5'2" 350 lb person are hard to convey. Add to that the staff requirements to care for and try to combat the inertia of some of these folks. The easy way is not always the easy way.....
Thus (obviously) if you are 20 lbs. overweight, your knees experience it as equivalent to an 80 lb. backpack
Umm. No. Your math is wrong. Your knees experience it as a 20 lb. backpack. i.e., 80 PSI. Sorry.
Aren't you doing a static calculation that does not account for inertia?
i.e.; the increase of the dynamic loading of the knee is the equivalent of an additional 80 lb static load.
I'm surprised that nobody has made the obvious thigh bone connected to the knee bone joke yet. :>)
Because you did actually, you know, make that connection for us, is it safe for me to say that's a knee-slapper?
I'm sure folks would figure I have bad knees because of my weight. However, I used to pick apples. Going up and down a ladder with 40-50 pounds of apples on your shoulders is not kind to your knees either. And the multiple times I've tripped and landed hard on my right knee haven't helped either. Weight loss, even on a low carb diet is not easy and takes time. I'm starting to think seriously about using a shillelagh.
Feeblemind ... I belong to the group that thinks osteo-arthritis is inherited. Where the arthritis hits on your little pink body is probably unique to each individual. But every woman in my family, when she reached a certain age, developed arthritis. I had some arthritis in my seventies but it was controllable with aspirin and the use of a cane. Now however, that I am 83, the bloody stuff has taken over my left leg and hip. And it's not funny any more. Fortunately, I'm not overweight or it would probably put me in a wheelchair. As it is, I use a cane, and will probably get a walker soon. Still, one can always bring a little style to these things.
I find that if I avoid eating red meat very often, and stick to poultry and pasta, I stay more comfortable. But it's sad to remember that my date and I won the first Waltz Contest at the Winthrop House at Harvard, at the first Waltz Party given after the end of the Second World War.
As the Instapundit says, when informed of medical progress, "Faster, faster please."
That picture of Cleopatra is photo shopped. In fact, she was almost always performing with her knees on floor cushions. Bless her talented little heart.
Pressure is force over an area. The surface area of the knee joint doesn't change, just the downward force. Assuming equal loads on each leg, one pound of weight lost becomes 1/2 pound less of force seen in each knee. The doctor should stick to prescribing pills, and leave the physics to the engineers.
Aren't you doing a static calculation that does not account for inertia?
The dynamic knee joint load will necessarily be higher.