An orthopedic specialist can help you identify the cause of your knee pain and work with you to develop a treatment plan that will keep you moving.

Today’s post, written by Dr. Elizabeth Matzkin, Surgical Director of the Women’s Sports Medicine Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, was adapted from an article that originally appeared on  A Nation in Motion, sponsored by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.

I hear this all the time – “I’m trying to lose weight – but I can’t exercise because my knee hurts.”  It’s a never-ending cycle that needs to be broken!

More than 36 percent of adults and 17 percent of children in the US are obese, which is a far too common problem. Obesity causes an increased load on your muscles and joints. The knee joint feels five times your body weight with each step you take – so a weight loss of even five pounds can feel like a 25-pound weight loss to your knee, helping to reduce your knee pain.

To lose weight, you will need to eat better and exercise more; however, many of my patients find that increased activity can result in additional knee pain, making it difficult to meet their weight loss goals.

An orthopedic specialist can help you identify the cause of your knee pain and work with you to develop a treatment plan that will keep you moving. In many cases knee pain can be treated without surgery. Some questions that your doctor may ask to determine how to treat your knee pain include:

  • Were you doing too much too fast?
  • Do you need to work on some strengthening of your core or proximal muscles?
  • Would you benefit from formal physical therapy?
  • Would cross training or a modified exercise plan be beneficial to avoid overuse injury/pain?
  • Is there a brace that would be helpful?
  • Would an anti-inflammatory medication help?

There is usually not a quick fix to knee pain, but the best evidence we have to make your knees feel better – whether you are struggling with osteoarthritis, anterior knee pain, tendonitis, or a meniscal problem – is weight loss. Weight loss will result in less knee pain. So stay motivated! We are here to cheer you on and keep you moving.

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