How Does Your Body Weight Affect Your Overall Orthopedic Health?

woman getting weighed at doctor office

Being overweight is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or higher. Obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 or higher. People who are overweight or obese, compared to those with healthy weight, are at increased risk for many serious conditions that are not only limited to arthritis but also other conditions such as coronary heart disease, blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, etc.

Some of the negative impacts of carrying excess weight:

Obesity and Arthritis

Excess weight can place extra pressure on your joints, which could increase the risk of wear and tear of your cartilage, eventually resulting in joint pain and arthritis.

Arthritis due to obesity affects your weight-bearing joints such as hips, knees, and ankles.

Obesity and Chronic Pain

Obese adolescents report more musculoskeletal and chronic focal pain than normal-weight adolescents. Obesity almost doubles the risk of chronic soft tissue and joint pain in older adults.

Accumulating evidence strongly suggests that pain and obesity are significantly related to each other, and obesity is potentially a marker of greater functional and psychological complications of chronic pain.

Affecting Arthritic Medications

When it comes to prescribing medications, they are prescribed based on the severity of the condition, age, and BMI. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are less likely to be considered in obese patients with metabolic syndrome, because of the low success rate.

Not only NSAID medications, but even intraarticular steroid injection outcomes are also significantly limited.

Affecting Surgery Outcomes

Obese patients, who undergo surgery have a greater risk for surgical site infection due to poor healing of surgical incisions and reduced blood flow in fat tissues. Additionally, many obese patients have comorbidities such as diabetes, which also increases the risk of blood clots.

The risk of falling is high in obese patients, after a lower extremity surgery such as joint replacement of the hip or knee.

Injuries and Healing

The amount of body weight being physically applied to tendons, muscles, bones, and joints is certainly a factor in the development of tendonitis and ligament strain.

Overweight adolescents are 15% more susceptible to musculoskeletal injury and the ones who are obese, are at 48% more risk to suffer from an orthopedic injury.

According to the National Library of Medicine, healing is delayed in obese individuals as a result of macronutrient and micronutrient deficiencies.


Obesity is not the only issue for your orthopedic condition as being underweight also plays a role in it. By making some crucial lifestyle changes, one can reduce the risk of orthopedic problems. If you are someone who is overweight/obese, then consult your primary care physician or orthopedic physician for a medically-assisted weight loss program and/or a healthy diet plan.

Embracing a healthy diet plan and adopting an active lifestyle can significantly help lose excess body weight and/or gain weight to maintain a proper BMI.

Carolina Regional Orthopaedics

Carolina Regional Orthopaedics provides the most effective, modern, and innovative techniques in both Orthopedic Surgery and Pain Management using proven methodologies in both the surgical and non-surgical treatment of all conditions affecting the spine, upper extremities, and lower extremities. We specialize in hand and wrist surgery, joint replacements, sports medicine, trauma care, pediatric orthopedics, pain management, wound care, regenerative medicine, physical therapy, imaging services, and EMG testing.