Date Published: Aug 08, 2023

Weight Management

Research has shown that a 10% weight reduction can produce a 50% decrease in your knee pain. Furthermore, the evidence suggests that a loss of 0.25% of your body weight per week will give you noticeable pain reduction. As an example, if you weigh 100kg, you will feel your pain reducing if you can lose 250 grams per week. If you lose 10kg, you should have halved your pain.

There has also been strong evidence supporting the effectiveness of psycho-social programs in weight management programs. This means that if you can meet the challenge of managing your weight with others who have similar goals, you will markedly increase your chance of success.


Being overweight is one of the leading risk factors for knee osteoarthritis. Because of the way your joints work, the force put through your knees when you walk on a slope or upstairs can be up to four times your actual body weight. This is why carrying extra weight is also a major cause of the pain that an OA sufferer feels. Remember that, if you are 20kg overweight, an extra 80kg will go through your kneecaps when you go up or down stairs!

Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is a top priority for people diagnosed with knee OA. For an overweight patient, losing weight will unload the joint, reduce pain and improve the knee’s function. It will also decrease the rate of wear-and-tear, improving the natural lifetime of the knee.

The easiest way to get a rough indication is to calculate your Body Mass index, or BMI. You can do this by entering your bodyweight in kilograms and your height in centimetres into any online BMI calculator.

A BMI of 25 or above is generally a sign that you should consider weight loss as a core strategy in dealing with your knee pain. Patients with a BMI of between 30 and 35 have an 8.5 times higher chance of requiring total knee replacement surgery, and a lower chance of a good result afterwards.

The BMI index has limitations for individual use, and is not a diagnostic tool. You should always talk to us or your GP about putting your BMI in context with other measurements and factors before deciding on a course of action.

Of course, there is no point in pretending weight management is easy. In fact, it is one of the greater challenges you will face in managing your OA, but it will also be one of the most beneficial and rewarding ones. It involves mental effort, discipline, changes to habits, and the need to prioritise some time in your day to exercise and prepare nutritious meals.

Most of the well-established (and usually more successful) weight management programs have components where a participant meets or engages online with peers in the program. Evidence shows that participants who work with others on their goals are more likely to stay engaged and motivated, achieve better results, and maintain their new weight for longer.

When you get your weight management underway, and combine it with exercising at a moderate level of effort for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, you will feel much better. You will also be helping prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases.

Be Aware

Providing good nutrition is achieved, your exercise is well-guided, and your weight does not fall below the healthy weight recommendations, there are no risks to losing weight.

One of the most influential factors in weight management will be the support of your partner, family and friends. If they are encouraging you to make positive change or, better still, making the change with you, your chances of a great result will skyrocket. However, the reverse is also true. If the people around you maintain an environment of unhealthy habits, or are more directly disparaging, your chances of a good outcome diminishes. It is important to get support for your efforts.

As discussed in our diet and nutrition advice, having knee OA does complicate exercise, a crucial component to losing weight. It is important to be kind to yourself. Try to exercise when you and your joints are feeling okay and your pain is under control. Never over-exercise an inflamed joint, and do gentler exercise during a flare-up. It is important to understand that mild pain is not a reason to stop or not do exercise, however you should not exercise through unusual pain or strong discomfort.

Mahima Kalra
Aug 23, 2023

Ready to get started?

Our friendly staff are always here to help. Contact us to begin your journey to a happier, healthier you.