PT eDigest

xxxxRegain Your Knee and Gain the Pounds?

It sounds counterintuitive. You have surgery that makes it easier to be active and mobile, and then you begin to gain weight. But that is exactly what recent studies have suggested: Patients who have knee replacement surgeries have a 60% chance of gaining 5% or more of their body weight within five years.

The good news is that most knee replacements have great outcomes. Formerly sedentary patients, incapacitated by the pain and discomfort of a bad or arthritic knee, now find themselves able to function well after having this common surgery. So why are they prone to gain weight?

A 2013 study of weight gain in knee replacement patients led researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University to conclude that the years of immobility prior to the surgery can lead to unhealthy habits. Thus, even after their knee replacements, patients might continue to maintain a sedentary lifestyle. And because overweight patients are counseled to lose weight before having surgery, there is often a “rebound” effect that leads to weight gain when they resume old eating habits. Interestingly, those who had a second knee or hip surgery were even more likely to gain weight.

Increased weight can place you at risk for a whole host of health problems, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Carrying around extra pounds also puts stress on your joints, leading to further problems with your legs and hips.

The best way to keep from piling on post surgery pounds is to approach pre surgery weight loss as a long-term goal. Think of it as getting a jump start on your new life—the one you will be able to enjoy thanks to your new knee. And, with improved mobility, there is no better time to start a new exercise program, which will not only speed up your recovery but can also help keep your weight down.

We can design an exercise program that incorporates gentle aerobic exercise (such as walking) that is appropriate for knee replacement patients. Along with a healthy diet, this exercise can be a great way to counteract the risks of postsurgical weight gain. With our professional guidance, you can achieve healthy knees and prevent the pounds from making an unwanted comeback.