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Lose Weight to Fight Knee Pain

Extra pounds can put pressure on your knees when you are overweight.

A woman holds up loose jeans to show how she was once overweight—which added extra pounds of pressure on her knees.

Medically reviewed in August 2021

If your knees ache due to osteoarthritis, here’s good news: Losing 10 percent of your body weight can bring real relief, according to one study. 

In the study of more than 454 overweight and obese people suffering from knee osteoarthritis, researchers found that participants who dropped 10 percent of their weight through a combination diet-and-exercise regimen reported less pain, better knee function, improved mobility and an enhanced quality of life. And it gets even better: The more pounds people shed, the better their knees felt. 

How does being overweight cause knee pain? 
Your knees bear the brunt of your body weight. Every extra pound you carry adds up to 4 extra pounds of pressure on your knee joints when you walk, and 10 pounds when you run. When you lose weight, less pressure is applied to your joints, which means you’ll have less pain. 

Need help losing weight? 
Here are some great options—just make sure to check with your doctor first: 

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