Most of us have heard the warning about obesity as it pertains to general health. Diabetes, coronary heart disease, gastrointestinal issues, and osteoarthritis are all common health concerns that are all associated with overweight patients.
Here is one additional reason to lose weight that you may not have considered: Obesity, particularly as it pertains to the arms and legs, will place joints in a position that is not natural.
Consider the shoulder positioning of an obese individual. Because of the extra soft tissue in their upper arm, their shoulder and hence their arm are forced into a resting position that is further out to the side than normal. This places adverse tension on rotator cuff tendons, the joint capsule, and the supporting ligaments of the shoulder. If this abnormal positioning goes on for too long, it is entirely possible that this individual will develop rotator cuff tendonitis.
The same applies to the mechanics of joints of the hip, knee, and ankle. The illustration (left) shows very clearly how extra fat tissue in between the thighs affects the lower extremities. The individual seen is forced to place his/her feet further way from midline than normal. The resulting positioning of the knees and hips are changed, causing rotation of the hips and uneven weight bearing across the knee joint surface.
These are somewhat extreme examples of how soft tissue can affect joint mechanics. Realize that there is a “sliding scale” of sorts in regards to how much soft tissue gets in the way of normal resting position. It is entirely possible that if you are only slightly overweight that this type of dysfunction can happen. Beware!
Image credits: Top, Shutterstock; Bottom © Sebastian Kaulitzki/Fotolia.
Diana Albano says
Hi, I am so glad to have found your web site. I have a torn hip labrum that was diagnosed a few years ago. At that time I had physical therapy. I also swim 5 to 6 times a week for 40 to 45 minutes. I am
trying to find a solution that does not involve surgery. What do you think about stem cell shots? How would I find a good doctor that has experience in treating a torn labrum this way?
I am a young active 71 almost 72! I am deathly afraid of surgery specifically general anesthesia.
Luckily I have never had to have it. I lead a very natural existence, other than vitamins and herbs I rarely
take a pain killer, (Advil). I have 3 very young grandchildren that I spend a lot of time with. I would love to be able to keep up with them without any or minimal pain.
Sincerely, Diana Albano
Dan Baumstark, MSPT, CHT says
Diana I have heard of the stem cell / PRP injections for the hip labrum, although I would say that it is not very common. I have heard anecdotally that some people have had some good improvement with injections. Every major city has a few docs that specialize in hips. I would call a few PT clinics and ask them who they recommend.
I would take a break from the swimming for a week and perhaps work on some gentle gluteal strengthening. It may be a good idea to find a very experienced physical therapist to get an impression and some guidance as well.