Lose weight and take the stress off your joints, isn’t this the most frustrating thing you get told with Osteoarthritis? (The logic being that the heavier that you are the more stress that is exerted through your joints). The frustration is that often exercise is just too painful! Many are restricted to only being able to exercise in water.
While obviously this makes sense, I think too much emphasis is placed here and other factors are completely ignored. One factor that I would like to discuss can be more important than weight alone (in my opinion).
What I believe is more important than losing weight with osteoarthritis…
Another factor that can place huge stress on your joints is the muscle tension around your joints. Think about this, each joint has several muscle groups that run across the joint. If these muscles are overly tight or have been shortened in any way, then the result is that these muscles will place a force of compression into the joint. This is likely to cause more wear and tear to the joint. Furthermore this force can be constant, so even when you are not standing there can be significant stress on the joint.Unlike with body weight which can only add stress to your joints when you are standing.
Of course add the two together (muscle tension plus your body weight standing) and the amount of stress will be even greater.
So what can I do?
Well sure you can lose weight….but for many this is only realistic in a swimming pool as exercise on land can be too painful.
But if you are serious about helping your osteoarthritis you also need to be addressing the state of the muscle tension as well.