You might not be all that surprised to learn that obesity can contribute to knee pain, strains and other problems; after all, extra weight exerts extra pressure on all the joints. Excess body weight can be distributed evenly, but often concentrates above the knees (midsection, etc.), and that weight can prove too much for the knees to bear over time.
But did you know obesity can lead to even more serious knee problems, including vascular damage that might result in amputation? That’s the conclusion of a new study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma that evaluated the incidence of knee dislocations in obese vs. normal-weight people. Researchers discovered that obese subjects with a knee dislocation were almost twice as likely to suffer vascular injury (blood vessel damage) compared to normal-weight patients with a dislocation. Vascular injury following dislocation increases the risk of amputation, although in this study, amputation rates were not significantly different between obese and normal-weight subjects.
Vascular injury also doubled hospital stays (15 days, on average, compared to only approximately seven days for those without a vascular injury) and more than doubled average per-patient hospital costs ($131,478 vs. $60,241).
In short, obesity is no laughing matter. If you’re struggling with your weight, talk to your doctor about sensible ways to lose the weight and improve your overall health and wellness (including joint health) at the same time.
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