Tips for Losing Weight to Treat Knee Pain

Weight loss is a proven treatment for arthritic knee pain, but few people use it. Losing excess pounds can seem like a big challenge. Below are a few ideas for successfully achieving and maintaining weight loss. Incorporating just one or two of these ideas into a daily routine may produce notable weight loss.

1. Eliminate One Bad Habit

Removing one fattening or sugary item from a daily diet can make a big difference over time. For example, a person can trade in a morning muffin for a piece of fruit or swap out sweetened beverages for water.

See Foods for a Healthier Gut and Less Arthritis Pain


2. Make Meals from Scratch

By making meals from scratch, people can avoid most trans fats as well as unnecessary sugar, additives, and preservatives, which many processed foods contain. Research suggests that additives and preservatives are associated with inflammation1 and obesity.2

See An Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Arthritis

3. Eat More Fiber Every Day

Increasing fiber intake is often recommended for losing weight. Eating high-fiber foods can make a person feel full, thereby decreasing the cravings for high-caloric foods. Why?

  • Fibrous foods take up more space with fewer calories. A candy bar or sugary granola bar can be 180 to 300 calories. A cup of uncooked leafy greens has less than 10 calories. A large vegetable salad can be filling and less than 100 calories. (Keep in mind that adding bacon bits, croutons, candied nuts, and heavy dressings can add several hundred calories.)
  • Fibrous foods take longer to digest. Digestion times vary from person to person, but in general, fibrous foods such as fruits and vegetables take longer to break down in the stomach and large intestine, leaving people feeling full long after they have eaten. Candy and baked goods, such as crackers and cookies, are digested quickly, so people feel hungry again sooner.

Leafy greens are not the only high-fiber foods. Other vegetables, fruits, beans, rolled oats and many other foods are high in fiber.

See The Ins and Outs of an Anti-Inflammatory Diet

4. Burn a Few More Calories Each Day

While reducing calorie intake is the most reliable way to lose weight, burning calories can also help shed pounds. Hitting the gym, swimming, and doing water aerobics are tried-and-true ways to burn calories, but there are other ways to expend energy. Going for a walk each day, gardening, or doing gentle yoga and stretching on the living room floor will burn more calories than sitting still.

See Aerobic Exercise for Knee Arthritis


5. Do Not Eat Before Bed

Putting an end to after-dinner snacks and late-night eating habits is an easy way to drop pounds. Not only does this approach cut out unnecessary calories, it helps the body digest and metabolize food; the body’s digestive and metabolic systems work most efficiently during the day.3 -5

A physician or registered dietician can work with patients to discuss the above ideas for weight loss as well as other ideas.


  • 1.Viennois E, Merlin D, Gewirtz AT, Chassaing B. Dietary emulsifier-induced low-grade inflammation promotes colon carcinogenesis. Cancer research. 2017;77(1):27-40. doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-16-1359.
  • 2.Simmons AL, Schlezinger JJ, Corkey BE. What Are We Putting in Our Food That Is Making Us Fat? Food Additives, Contaminants, and Other Putative Contributors to Obesity. Current obesity reports. 2014;3(2):273-285. doi:10.1007/s13679-014-0094-y.
  • 3.Eckel-Mahan K, Sassone-Corsi P. Metabolism and the Circadian Clock Converge. Physiological Reviews. 2013;93(1):107-135. doi:10.1152/physrev.00016.2012.
  • 4.Bailey SM, Udoh US, Young ME. CIRCADIAN REGULATION OF METABOLISM. The Journal of endocrinology. 2014;222(2):R75-R96. doi:10.1530/JOE-14-0200.
  • 5.Konturek PC, Brzozowski T, Konturek SJ. Gut clock: implication of circadian rhythms in the gastrointestinal tract. J Physiol Pharmacol. 2011 Apr;62(2):139-50. Review. PubMed PMID: 21673361.
Further Reading: Exercising with Arthritis