THURSDAY, Jan. 17, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- People who have knee-replacement surgery are at increased risk for weight gain, according to a new study.
Researchers examined the medical records of nearly 1,000 knee replacement patients and found that almost one-third of them gained 5 percent or more of their body weight in the five years after surgery.
Among people who didn't undergo knee replacement, 20 percent gained the same amount of weight over that time, according to the study, which was published online recently in the journal Arthritis Care & Research.
"Part of the explanation is that people may have spent years adapting to their circumstances by avoiding activities that could cause knee pain," lead author Daniel Riddle, a professor in the physical therapy department at Virginia Commonwealth University, said in a university news release.
"We need to encourage patients to take advantage of their ability to function better and offer strategies for weight loss or weight management," he added.
The researchers also found that weight loss before knee-replacement surgery is a risk factor for weight gain after the procedure. Overweight and obese patients typically are encouraged to lose weight before undergoing knee replacement, to reduce the risk of complications and speed their recovery.
Weight gain after knee-replacement surgery "potentially puts patients at risk of developing chronic health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes," Riddle said.
The U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases has more about joint-replacement surgery.