Before you go under the knife for a knee replacement surgery, you may first want to see what losing weight does for your knee pain.

Knee replacement surgery to reduce osteoarthritis pain isn’t necessarily a patient’s only option.

Losing weight may alleviate the pain — the pain of osteoarthritis, which results when bone comes into contact with bone due to the disintegration of the cushioning cartilage that was originally thick and shock-absorbing.

This is the conclusion of a report in the March 2013 Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

The JAAOS article states that obesity may cause inflammatory and biomechanical changes that lead to degenerative osteoarthritis.

“There’s a clear link between obesity and osteoarthritis,” points out Ryan C. Koonce, MD, in the paper. He is an orthopedic surgeon at the Skagit Regional Clinics in Mount Vernon, Washington.

His report also states that about 50 percent of knee osteoarthritis cases in the U.S. could be avoided if obesity was eliminated. However, that won’t be happening in a country where people are becoming increasingly sedentary while more and more fast-food diners are popping up.

What Obese People with Knee Pain Should Know

– The knee joint is subjected to greater wear and tear with greater weight load placed upon the joint.

-A pro-inflammatory tissue, white adipose (fat), is found in high amounts in obese adults.

-Obesity is an independent risk factor for osteoarthritis in the knee joint.

-To reduce pain, the patient should lose weight. Becoming trimmer will also bring back function and improve quality of life in those with osteoarthritis..

In fact, the report estimates that weight loss can actually prevent over 111,000 total knee replacements on an annual basis.

But the reality is that most people would rather just get the knee replacement hardware surgically implanted than commit to a weight loss program.

Knee pain also interferes with lower body aerobic workouts, though pedaling a stationary bike is doable for many patients.

If you’re obese yet do not have osteoarthritis in your knees, don’t wait till you develop this condition to begin exercising and committing to a weight loss plan.

“We are underutilizing weight loss as a primary treatment option for arthritis and joint pain,” explains Jonathan T. Bravman, MD, an orthopedic surgeon who co-authored the study.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained clients of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.