Saturday, February 20, 2010

The knee

I have yet to see the Dr. Oz episode where I was in the audience as part of his OZ 100. I've gotten all sorts of fun comments from friends-- "Hey! I saw you on TV and you look great!" and "Your beautiful self was all over that show and you were smiling!" are two such examples. Neat, right?

I was catching up on blogs recently and one woman's denial about her knees magically healing themselves got to me.  It also reminded me I wanted to check out exactly what it is was Dr. Oz was saying about your knees healing themselves after losing weight. I cried through that part of the segment. Big fat hot tears that just rolled down my face and I couldn't help it.

And they showed it! Bastards.

Click the picture to be taken to his site and the clip, you can see me cry just before the 4 minute mark.

But what the producers/editors don't understand is that those weren't tears-of-happiness-that-I-have-conquered-my-weight-and-now-am-pain-free. Hardly. They were tears-of-ohmigod-I-can't-believe-he-is-saying this because, at least for me, I know this not to be true. I know my issues are more than just OA. You can't have 11 knee surgeries and not expect some pain, but the arthritis is causing the majority of my issues.

I've watched the clip several times now and I believe he is inferring that the bone will heal itself if you lose enough weight and consequently it will not hurt. Maybe I am a freak of nature? Bone is capable of regenerating and healing, it has a blood supply. Cartilage is avascular and so therefore it's capabilities for regeneration are severely limited. Once the damage to your cartilage is done, it's done. If you are missing it in places and you have bone on bone no amount of weight loss is going to prevent them from rubbing together. Well, a surgery will, but if your OA is in all three compartments and you are knock-kneed then tough luck, wait for a replacement at 45. /blogress

The reason they tell you to lose weight to help your knees is to help PREVENT osteoarthritis. Once you have it though, you can only treat it. Losing weight will reduce some of the pressure on your joints and it will make them less painful because there is less force on them further tearing up your cartilage and bone. They will not magically heal themselves however-- even if you weigh nothing.


Anonymous said...

I hope you aren't tired of hearing this: you are my biggest source of inspiration (and hope) that I can & will lose weight and also maintain. I lost over 100 lbs on 3 previous tries! The longest I maintained a 100 lb loss was just over 3 years. Now, getting up the courage to start again has been so difficult. Yet there you are, a beautiful example of persistence and heart. So many setbacks and major challenges could have become excuses to slip back into old habits...but you have found new ways to nurture yourself. That is remarkable. Thanks for sharing your story (both triumphs and struggles). You will be an awesome RD. Sincerely, Robin

Anonymous said...

I am an RN. I believe Dr. Oz was misleading and, unfortunately, careless with his medical rhetoric. You are not a freak of nature, you know that. My husband has never been overweight in his life, yet being a construction worker has taken a toll (OA in neck is severe) and he consulted several pain management specialists before he finally found practical relief (was able to return to work and can enjoy life). Please keep looking for help. You deserve a better quality of life.

Also, this idea that losing weight will magically cure (or prevent) a bunch of major illnesses is part of the diet industry's mythology. Educated people working in the health care field would do well to examine the evidence more carefully. Health at every size is a sorry load of crap, but equating weight loss with miricle cures is magical thinking.

Thanks for all your great posts! I've learned so many valuable insights from reading your blog.

Sarah said...

Thanks Ladies!

Robin I don't get tired of hearing it. That's kind of why I keep this blog so that others know that it is possible despite whatever life may throw at you. I used to feel like my life was one big drama all the time and used that as an excuse to start tomorrow. And then I realized that skinny people have drama too! We all cope in our own way, but food is not the way.

And to the Anon RN. Yeah, I totally felt like he was misleading people. He's a freaking cardiologist not and orthopedist.

I think now that I am at goal (not a term I like but whatev) I think that weighing an appropriate amount is important, but mostly for comfort, not for health. To be comfortable in your own body is a wonderful thing. My health is what it is, and yes some of it was because of the excess for so long and if I had stayed that way it would have only gotten worse.

We work with what we have. There is no right or wrong way.

theantijared said...

I saw you on Dr. Oz!

I told my wife "There is Sarah, she lost a ton of weight!!!!"

Diane Fit to the Finish said...

Sarah - my friend, who is an orthopedic surgeon said what you already know - he does tons of knee surgeries on thin people and people who have never been overweight in the lives. He said it tends to be genetic and just how some people are made. Of course obesity takes a great toll, but there are some obese people who never have a day of knee problems.

I too have knee problems and often wondered if it was from my obese years. You looked lovely on television!

Sarah said...

Yes, my knees are also genetically crappy. I have that going for me too. I can remember my grandmother having both replaced when I was in high school.

I just bristle at the "lose weight and everything will be rainbows and butterflies". I still would have lost the weight, but I kept hoping. Never happened.

You also looked lovely on TV! It was fun, despite his glossiness. SO amazing to meet all these people I only know via the web. I can't wait to be you.

Jodie said...

I didn't understand his analogy completely. If the orange pulp is completely gone, it can't regenerate itself. It is a good analogy to show how losing weight can save cartilage, but I don't see how it was 'regenerating'