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Weight Loss Lessens Knee Pain in Obese

Obese knee osteoarthritis (OA) patients who lose > 20% of their weight were in significantly less pain, had better function and improved quality of life. 

A study in Arthritis Care & Research reports the results of a secondary analysis from the Intensive Diet and Exercise for Arthritis (IDEA) study that included 240 overweight and obese adults with pain and radiographic knee OA. Patients were randomized to one of 4 groups and followed for an 18‐month period. (Citation source:

A significant dose responses to weight loss was achieved for pain reduction (p = 0.01), function (p = 0.0006), 6‐minute walk distance (p < 0.0001), quality of life (HRQL), knee joint compressive force (p < 0.0001), and IL‐6 (p = 0.002).

Greater weight loss resulted in superior clinical and mechanstic outcomes with the highest weight loss group (≥20% group) distinguishing itself on all measures compared to the <5% and ≥5% groups; the ≥20% group had 25% less pain and better function than the ≥ 10% group, and significantly (p = 0.006) better physical HRQL.

Overall 10% or more weight loss resulted in a 50% reduction in pain, and patients also reported significant improvements in mobility and daily function. 

It is unclear what the long-term effects of weight loss on knee joint pain or mobility will be from this study. 

Weight loss not only improved knee pain, but also was shown to decrease inflammation with lower IL-6 levels.




The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose related to this subject

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