Weight Loss

  Activity Modification


What is it and why?

  • Losing weight through diet and exercise has multiple benefits for knee arthritis patients.

  • Every 1 pound of weight increases the force through the joint by 3 - 6 times.

  • Losing weight will slow down the joint wear, decrease pain and improve function.

  • Obesity increases the risk of osteoarthritis (OA) and, once developed, worsens it.

  • It also increases the surgical and anaesthetic risks when these interventions are considered later on in treatment.

  • Treatment involves Home/self-help
  • Treatment does not involve Hospital
  • Treatment does not involve Daycase procedure
    Daycase procedure
  • Treatment does not involve Inpatient procedure
    Inpatient procedure
  • Treatment does not involve Local anaesthetic
    Local anaesthetic
  • Treatment does not involve General anaesthetic
    General anaesthetic
  • Treatment does not involve Regional block / Spina
    Regional block / Spina
  • Pain

    No more than usual

  • Mobility

    No more than usual

  • Daily activities
    Daily activities

    No more than usual

  • Driving

    No more than usual

  • Leisure activities
    Leisure activities

    No more than usual

  • Light exercise
    Light exercise

    No more than usual

  • Heavy exercise
    Heavy exercise

    No more than usual

  • Light work
    Light work

    No more than usual

  • Heavy work
    Heavy work

    No more than usual

  • Intimate

    No more than usual


What does it involve?

  • Bringing BMI and waist circumference down.

  • Aim to bring weight down by 5% in a 20-week period.

  • Commitment to a balanced, low calorie and low-fat diet.

  • Self-control and behavioural changes including monitoring portion size and avoiding snacking.


  • Consistent adherence to a diet plan.

  • Avoiding temptation, succumbing to cravings and losing control.

  • May require co-operation from family members.


  • Losing even a few pounds can improve arthritis symptoms.

  • Studies say you can experience between a 21% and 33% decrease in arthritis symptoms just with weight loss

  • Weight loss slows down joint wear, the progress of arthritis, improves pain levels, activities of daily living (ADL) and overall mobility.

  • Other health benefits include decreased risk of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and the development of type 2 diabetes.

Chances of cure

  • May reverse the effect of arthritis in the early stages.

  • May not completely cure arthritis, but will slow down its progress.

Limitations and side effects

  • Difficult to achieve significant weight loss in a short period of time.

  • Inability to tolerate changes in diet habits.

  • Immediate side effects include lack of energy, headaches and irritability. 


  • No major risks identified.

  • May crave food and find difficult to stick to the plan

  • Extreme sudden dieting may result in an electrolyte imbalance. It may also affect internal organ function (especially kidneys and liver).


  • This is a low-cost option for both the patient and the NHS

  • These changes are unlikely to increase weekly shopping cost. This is especially true if you use available resources, shop intelligently and change habits.

What if no treatment is done?

  • Arthritis will continue to deteriorate.

  • Symptoms will get worse; sometimes rapidly.

  • Will have a negative influence on other management options, e.g. surgery, in the future.

  Activity Modification