SAN DIEGO — Isolated weight loss results in a significant reduction of osteoarthritis symptoms in former National Football League players, according to a study presented here.
Christopher Edwards, BA, shared his findings at the 2011 American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine Specialty Day Meeting.
Obesity is prevalent among former National Football League (NFL) players, Edwards said. His group hypothesized this obesity was partially to blame for the increased risk of knee osteoarthritis (OA) in this former player population.
“Notably, males under the age of 60 who played in the NFL are three times more likely to develop knee osteoarthritis than the general population,” Edwards said. “No one has accounted for this. It may be related to their higher [body mass index] BMI.”
“Individuals with a BMI greater than 30 have a four-times greater risk of developing knee OA than those with a BMI of less than 25,” he added.
Edwards and his colleagues investigated 24 adults scheduled to undergo bariatric surgery who exhibited clinical and radiographic evidence of knee OA. WOMAC and KOOS surveys were administered preoperatively, and then at 6 and 12 months postoperatively. The weight of each patient was recorded at baseline and at follow-up appointments.
Edwards noted the patients were not prescribed exercise programs, medications, or injections during the study.
Weight loss at 6 and 12 months postoperatively was statistically significant. Edwards added that all variables from both the KOOS and WOMAC surveys at the postoperative follow-ups were shown to have improved to a statistically significant degree relative to the baseline measurements.
Each individual, Edwards reported, showed some kind of improvement in their pain as a result of losing weight.
“We have shown in this particular patient population that pain, stiffness and physical function can be significantly improved with isolated weight loss,” he said.
He added that though such uses were not examined in the study, there could be potential for an expanded role of weight loss in the treatment of knee arthritis in older and retired athletes.
- Edwards C, et al. Isolated weight loss significantly reduces the symptoms associated with knee arthritis. Paper 9508. Presented at the 2011 American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine Specialty Day. Feb. 19, 2011. San Diego.
Disclosure: Edwards has reported no relevant financial disclosures.