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.
Take a look at the shoulder positioning of the individual in the photo (above right). Because of the extra soft tissue in her upper arm, her shoulder and hence her 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: Bottom © Sebastian Kaulitzki/Fotolia.