Mechanical Complications of Obesity Arthritis

Obesity is frequently complicated by degenerative arthritis (DJD). Increased body weight leads to trauma of the weight-bearing joints and speeds the development of osteoarthritis in obesity. Knee and hip joints are particularly affected. However, obese patients have increased DJD of the hands, perhaps due to cytokines produced by adipose tissue, which may damage the cartilage in joints. Flattening of the arc of the planter surface of the feet (flat feet) occurs more frequently in obese people, presumably due to the stress of carrying excess body weight. Flat feet may lead to unsteady gait and aches and pains after walking. Increased fat deposition, particularly in the abdominal region, can change the natural curvature of the spine, causing lordosis and resulting in backache in obese people.

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