Research that was conducted at Penn State College of Medicine suggests that individuals with knee osteoarthritis may be able to alleviate their pain and other symptoms by losing weight.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that an estimated 46 percent of the population will develop knee osteoarthritis over their lifetime, and that about 66 percent of obese people will eventually suffer from the joint disease.
Researchers examined 24 individuals for the study. All were classified as obese and had shown evidence of knee osteoarthritis.
The study showed that people who underwent bariatric surgery and lost about 55 pounds within six months experienced lessened knee pain and stiffness, and improved the physical function of their knees without supplemental arthritis treatment. Overall activity and quality of life also increased.
"Each individual had some kind of improvement in their pain from losing weight, some more than others," said Christopher Edwards, M.D., the study's lead author.
Authors of the study noted that this type of arthritis is common among obese people and retired professional athletes, especially football players.
Further research will test the long-term effects of weight loss, and whether the technique would be effective on people who are overweight but not obese.