Should I lose weight before knee replacement surgery

Written by
Fuel Your Life

Maybe you or someone you know needs knee replacement surgery and have been told to lose excess weight. For many this can be a point of frustration.

Generally, when people try to lose weight, they use both diet and exercise. However, for many people who are preparing for knee replacement surgery, whether it be due to osteoarthritis or a serious injury, exercise is often painful and limited.

For many, achieving pre-operative weight loss goals can often feel as though they are going into battle with one hand tied behind their back. The truth is, exercise only plays a small role in the weight loss puzzle. Diet plays a much larger role and the reality is that weight loss can be achieved through diet alone.

Whether or not you should lose weight prior to knee replacement surgery is fairly individual, however if you are carrying excess weight, you would very likely benefit.

So, what are the benefits of losing weight prior to surgery?

Dietary Habits

Although people usually lose some weight immediately following knee replacement surgery, many people struggle to maintain the weight loss long-term. Learning how to improve your diet for better weight management before surgery, can help with establishing good habits that will help you long into the future.

Reduced Pain

Losing weight can reduce the amount of pressure on your knee joint. In fact, studies have found that every 1 kilogram of body weight lost leads to a reduction of up to 4 kilograms of pressure on the knee joint! Weight loss has also been found to reduce inflammation and pain.

Reduced pain and physical disability generally result in increases in activity levels, improved physical fitness and consequently increased strength surrounding the knee joint.

Home Faster

Weight loss prior to surgery can result is a shorter hospital stay and/or less time in a rehabilitation facility. Resulting in a safer, comfortable, and satisfying recovery.

At home, people are more likely to:

  • Avoid post-surgical infection and readmission to hospital
  • Get better sleep
  • Eat foods they like.

Losing weight before knee surgery can seem like an impossible task, especially since it can be difficult to exercise. However, with the right mindset and dietary strategies, weight loss can be achieved.

For specific, tailored advice that suits your individual lifestyle, speak to one of our Dietitians here at Fuel Your Life.


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