The effects of weight loss on knee pain and kinematics
Obesity is one of the most prevalent risk factors for knee osteoarthritis (OA). About a third of obese adults suffer from knee OA which affects their quality of life severely.
While the benefits of walking are well-known and often recommended as a form of exercise in the fight against obesity, the knee pain prevents the affected person from participating in routine walks.
This study examined participants who were undergoing either bariatric surgery or medical management to lose body mass and the effect of weight loss on gait kinematics and knee pain.
The study followed up 12 participants over a year post weight loss management (bariatric surgery or medical management). The average weight loss was approximately 10% of their baseline body weight.
The authors utilised technology which would capture the knee joint kinematics in 6 degrees of freedom, i.e., flexion-extension, adduction-abduction, internal-external rotation, anterior-posterior translation, medial-lateral translation, and superior-inferior translation.
For pain, the participants were instructed to use the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) with a range of score from 0 to 100.
Knee pain was significantly reduced and associated with weight loss.
Knee joint kinematic changes that occurred post weight loss management included increased flexion-extension and internal-external rotation moments.
Other knee-joint kinematic and spatiotemporal parameters like cadence and duration of stance phase, did not show significant changes.
Expert opinion by Jonathan Ko
The results highlight that weight loss in this study population had a significant relationship with knee pain and joint kinematics, but no significant relation was found between knee pain and joint kinematics.
> From: Li et al., Gait Posture 68 (2019) 461-465. All rights reserved to Elsevier B.V.. Click here for the online summary.