If you have an artificial knee, maintaining a healthy weight is a crucial part of taking care of it. Losing weight can help delay surgery, and it can also help protect the new knee.

Being only 10 lbs overweight increases the force on your knees by 30–60 lbs when walking, according to the John Hopkins Arthritis Center.

The more you weigh, the more pressure you put on your artificial knee. This can cause your artificial joint to wear out sooner than it should, studies show.

Excess weight also increases your risk of complications. According to research, people with a BMI of over 40 are more likely to experience problems with wound healing and to need further surgery on the same knee, compared with those whose BMI is 30 or less.

They are also more likely to need a replacement for the other knee, especially if it already shows signs of osteoarthritis.

Current guidelines from the American College of Rheumatology and Arthritis Foundation consider weight loss a crucial aspect of treating osteoarthritis of the knee when people are overweight or have obesity.

Some people lose weight after surgery, but more than half gain weight. This can happen if you reduce your activity levels during recovery.

Taking steps to manage your weight can help you:

  • stay healthy
  • look after your new knee
  • prevent further damage and pain
  • avoid the need to replace the other knee

The new joint itself may affect your overall weight slightly.

In one study, researchers found that knee replacement surgery added a total of around:

  • 12.5 ounces to the weight of a male
  • 10 ounces to the weight of a female

However, the exact weight change will depend on the materials used.

Regular exercise is essential for effectively managing your weight. Your physical therapist will have you on your feet soon after surgery, and continuing exercise is critical for your recovery.

As time goes on, you can start to engage in low-impact activities, such as:

  • walking
  • swimming and water aerobics
  • cycling on flat terrain or a stationary bike
  • golfing
  • badminton
  • tai chi
  • yoga

Aside from the calorie-burning benefits of exercise, getting outside and being active can help boost your mood and reduce stress.

Find other activities can you do.

Exercise plays a role in weight loss and overall health, but dietary factors are also crucial.

Low-impact activities, such as walking or golf, burn only a few hundred calories per hour at most. You’ll also need to watch both the quality and quantity of what you eat.

A doctor or dietitian can help you analyze your eating habits and understand the role they play in managing your weight. They can help you find a sustainable approach that you enjoy.

Short-term diets often fail because they do little to change long-term eating habits. You might find that it’s too hard to follow or you put the weight back on after stopping the diet.

On the other hand, a healthy diet that contains plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables can become a realistic and enjoyable way of maintaining your health and your weight.

Here are some tips for establishing some healthy eating habits.

  • Plan on three meals a day, and decide on regular meal times.
  • Avoid snacking where possible, or consume healthy snacks.
  • Have fizzy water with ice and a slice of lemon instead of soda.
  • Opt for fruits instead of baked goods or sugary desserts.
  • Go straight to the main dish when eating out, or opt for a salad as a starter.
  • Top your desserts with low-fat Greek yogurt instead of cream or ice cream.
  • Opt for low-fat dairy and lean meat, instead of full-fat options.
  • Have a meat-free day at least once a week.
  • Try some new recipes or learn how to cook more plant-based foods, such as lentil curries and vegetable soups.
  • Experiment with spices to make your food more satisfying and interesting.
  • Make a healthy shopping list before going to the grocery store, and stick to it.
  • Use a smaller plate, and make sure half of it is colored with vegetables.
  • Say no to syrups and toppings on your coffee.
  • Swap processed foods, such as white bread, for whole grains.

Whole grains and fiber can help you feel full for longer and reduce the temptation to snack. They also offer essential nutrients, which may be absent in processed foods.

Speak with a nutritionist if you need help developing new habits that will work for you.

An average glass of red wine has about 125 to 150 calories. A beer typically has between 150 and 200 calories. Some mixed drinks contain 200 to 300 calories or more.

Drinking two or three alcoholic drinks per day will increase your calorie intake without adding any nutritional value.

Try to limit your intake to one alcoholic drink per day, and factor it into your total calorie intake.

Remember, it takes 30–45 minutes of walking to burn the calories from a single glass of wine.

It may take weeks, months, or even years to lose all the weight you want to shed, but a steady reduction is usually more sustainable than a rapid loss.

Don’t weigh yourself every day. Natural fluctuations can occur from one day to another, which may discourage you.

Instead, check the scale once per week and try to stay patient and focused. You’ll lose weight over time with a consistent and conscientious effort.

Losing weight can be hard, but remembering why you are doing it can help.

Keep in mind that having a healthy weight will:

  • lower your chances of needing revisions to your artificial knee
  • decrease the probability of needing a replacement for your other knee
  • help you manage symptoms, such as chronic pain
  • reduce the risk of other health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease
  • make exercise easier, which will help you manage stress and feel good

As you strive to exercise more and avoid excess calories, focus on the benefits that a healthier lifestyle and sustainable weight loss can provide.

People with overweight or obesity have a higher chance of needing a total knee replacement and of needing further surgery after a replacement.

Keeping your weight down will help you get the most out of your existing device and avoid complications.

Talk to your doctor about what your ideal weight range should be and how to achieve it, if necessary. They will help you make a plan that will likely incorporate exercise and healthy dietary choices.