Obesity and Orthopedic Related Issues

By Drew Heideman, PT, ATC


Obesity and Orthopedic Related Issues

It has been reported that obesity is on the rise in adults and children in the U.S. Data obtained from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey shows that 68.5% of men and women 20 years and older in the U.S. are overweight and almost 32% are obese.
Most people know that obesity contributes to the development of coronary heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and colon cancer. Obesity is also a contributing factor to back pain and symptoms associated with osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis,
degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis and spondylolisthesis. It has also been reported that being overweight or obese increases the risk of
orthopedic complaints, such as tendonitis, bursitis, overuse syndromes and surgical complications.

Tips to lose weight are needed in our society

Woman checking her weight loss progress.

Lack of Exercise

Lack of exercise leads to poor flexibility and weak muscles in the back, pelvis and thighs. The result may cause an increase in the curve
of the lower back and severe forward tilting of the pelvis. This type of posture increases stress on the lower back and may ultimately
weaken other areas of the spine, such as the neck, which may also become painful. A sedentary lifestyle and an unbalanced diet can affect the bone density or strength of the vertebrae that may increase the risk of compression fractures in the spine. Disability suffered by obese subjects appears most strongly related to lower body pains such as pain in the feet, knees, heel pain, and nagging lower back pain. Such conditions have major negative impacts on quality-of-life measures among obese persons.

Osteoarthritis and Obesity

It is estimated that 63% of osteoarthritis in middle-aged women can be attributed to obesity. Current evidence suggests the increased risk of orthopedic ailments is more likely due to direct mechanical stress on the joint rather than metabolic factors. Almost all subjects losing
significant weight report improvements in their level of energy, physical mobility, general mood, self-confidence and physical health. Studies following weight loss consistently show sustained improvements in physical function and reduction in pain. The major improvement
in quality of living in people with the knee, ankle and foot pain supports the hypothesis that obesity causes or aggravates conditions producing these symptoms.
Data on weight loss as a treatment for osteoarthritis has shown that even small amounts of weight loss have favorable effects. A reduction in weight can slow the progression of knee osteoarthritis. Weight loss and exercise lead to improvements in pain, disability and performance in obese elderly people with established knee osteoarthritis.

Related Article: Lower Back Pain,

Ankle Arthroscopy: A Comprehensive Guide

Understanding turf toe injuries symptoms treatment

What is a Lisfranc Injury?

Preventing low ankle sprain tips and techniques


JOI Physicians continue to offer online new patient appointments. This is another option to make it more convenient to make new patient appointments with less phone hold times. Follow the link below to select your JOI MD and schedule online.

JOI Rehab

Whether you are suffering from back issues, joint pain, or injuries resulting from any type of activity, JOI has 13 physical therapy clinics conveniently located in Jacksonville and Northeast FL who specialize in orthopedic rehab.

You can still call 904-JOI-2000 to make new patient JOI Physician Appointments if that is your preference.

To make appointments with JOI Rehab, please call 904-858-7045.


By: Drew Heideman, PT, ATC.

Book An Appointment with a JOI Physician

JOI Rehab

Skip to content