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Why Is Your Weight Important?

Extra weight greatly increases joint pain and damages the cartilage of the joints, especially in the hips and knees. But losing weight can help!


  • Together, extra pounds and pain can limit physical This leads to more weight gain and other health problems. This can cause permanent disability and loss of income.
  • Joint pain sometimes disrupts sleep.
  • People affected by excess weight are more likely to need prolonged medical therapy.
  • People affected by excess weight are more likely to need costly knee or hip surgery and a long period of recovery.
  • Losing weight can help you reduce joint pain, avoid joint surgery and become more active again.
  • Even small amounts of weight loss can help.

Managing your weight through a healthy diet and increased physical activity can help you reduce your joint pain. But don’t try to make too many changes at once. It can stop you in your tracks. Instead, pick just one thing you feel ready to focus on for the next few weeks. Choose a goal you believe you can achieve. Then work on it for 6 to 8 weeks to make it stick.

Wendy had been having trouble sleeping on her side because her hips would hurt and the pain would wake her up. She connected her excess weight and hip pain almost by mistake. Losing 15 pounds reduced her hip pain and allowed her to get a good night’s sleep.

Making Changes


There are many ways to get started. Here are a few ideas to choose from or you can make up your own:

  • Cut back on portion sizes.
  • Eliminate foods from your home that promote snacking instead keep fresh fruit on hand for snacks
  • Go for a walk after dinner.
  • Turn off the during dinner.
  • Move the TV out of the bedroom.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator (even just one flight!)
  • Add a vegetable to either lunch or dinner (or both) each day.
  • Pack your own lunch each day.
  • Make a new friend who wants to walk several days a week.
  • Buy a pedometer to track your steps taken each day or use your phone health tracker app.
  • Buy a bicycle and use it to ride to work or on weekends.
  • Plan a hiking vacation to a state or national park.
  • Join a physical activity program. Find one near you with the Arthritis Foundation Resource Finder.

Jerry knew that the pounds had been creeping upfor several years, but he didn’t make the connection between the extra weight and the pain in his knees.

The connection dawned on Jerry when his friend and former tennis partner lost 30 pounds and startedplaying tennis again. Jerry realized he wanted to play tennis with Steve, so he decided to lose weight.

More resources are available in our resource library.

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