Ridiculous Study of the Month: Weight Loss Improves Function and Knee Pain

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It turns out that if you are not overweight then you have less knee pain.  Wow, isn’t now that a landmark finding?  We never knew that before.  For this study, which appeared in Arthritis Care & Research, 1,383 persons with symptomatic knee OA enrolled in an 18-week weight loss program.  And the results?  Well, the group with the largest amount of weight loss (10% or more) had the greatest improvement in pain, function, and other Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS) domains. You can all say together with me now….NO SH%T!

By the way, those images are of my knee. I am not overweight but after six knee surgeries (multiple menisectomies and two ACL reconstructions since age 19) they are now recommending I get knee replacement.  How crappy is that at age 50?

Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  8 comments for “Ridiculous Study of the Month: Weight Loss Improves Function and Knee Pain

  1. S. Hammond
    February 9, 2016 at 11:38 am

    Due to my inability to quit sports – years of tennis & skiing – water & snow – I had 2 arthroscopies, one to repair a right torn lateral meniscus, then one to remove it 2 yrs later. Then came the Orthovisc & Synvisc shots, which worked for several years. Had a knee replacement 2 yrs ago at age 66 & wish I’d had it done sooner… Was back in the gym while still doing my outpatient PT, had a great recovery & the doc said I could have been back skiing this winter – less enthusiastically & with a good brace – but we had family matters to take care of. The newer knees are great – mine will last a good long while, and my right leg & quad is stronger now than my left one. Working on that in the gym…also had a great doc…

  2. Sir Hakum of Hugo
    February 9, 2016 at 11:02 am

    Have you considered applying for Disability and SSI?
    It is all the rage across America.

    Then pow….pain is 11 out of 10 a la Spinal Tap…..off to Pain Management for your Fentanyl patches.

    Our new American National Anthem is sung to the music of the Ramones, called “I Wanna Be Disabled”.

  3. Steve O'
    February 9, 2016 at 8:48 am

    But was that X-Ray Chosen Wisely? How might you know?
    There are studies. Lord, there are studies.
    Choosing Wisely,® part of the American Board of Internal Medicine, supports the new initiative by CMS to “pre-authorize” your clinical instincts, a real-time on-line approval of your x-ray “requests.” That X-Ray – how could your Orthopedic Surgeon possibly know if that particular x-ray was really needed? Or she/he merely wanted to look at it?

    Choosing Wisely supports the Consumer Reports publications on health, such as “Many common medical tests and treatments are unnecessary. Learn when to say ‘Whoa!’ to your doctor.” They sponsor the Physician Charter on Advancing Professionalism (http://abimfoundation.org/what-we-do/medical-professionalism-and-the-physician-charter) and issues grants for research on measurement science.

    Consumer Reports works with the National Business Group on Health (http://www.businessgrouphealth.org/join/members.cfm) to publish ratings on doctors.
    Sooo … the NBGH is committed to its plan – (“in response to changing times both in corporate America and the health care system, has refined its mission and sharpened its focus on serving corporate members by providing business solutions.”).

    Corporate and insurance leaders sponsor Consumer Reports to give a report card on doctors’ practices and professionalism, so that the national boards can help you decrease your practice mistakes. Consumer Reports also reminds patients that “(advanced practice providers) could help contribute to lower health care costs overall, and slower growth in insurance premiums,” as they have done in the last 20 years. (Consumer Reports Getting Healthcare Right series, which examines reforms in the health care system that are changing the way care is delivered to patients, funded by a grant from Atlantic Philanthropies.)

    This Clown Car filled with the Best & Brightest is going off the cliff. And we’re trapped in the trunk. It takes five dozen committees to poop out the turd that losing weight helps your knees, and pimps long-debunked ideas in how implementing advanced practice providers might lower healthcare costs, first trotted out when the Bee Gees were spinnin’ it hot. A corporate pipeline of hangers-on and misfits are eager to boss around those who actually do the work – and wonder why quality sucks, even though they have these neat-o “measurement scientists.” (WTF?) More meetings, more regulations, more bright ideas for the intellectually autoclaved living in the Ivory Towers. If the system can be pumped full of enough hangers-on and moochers, it would be too big to fail! Wouldn’t it? Wouldn’t it?

  4. February 9, 2016 at 6:31 am

    If the ACL is still functional and the lateral and PF compartments are reasonable, consider a unicompartment replacement.

    • Doug Farrago
      February 9, 2016 at 6:59 am

      Well, what you see is what I have. The ACL is ok. Is that lateral side reasonable enough?

  5. Dr Thomas Guastavino
    February 9, 2016 at 6:09 am

    Obviously you need to lose weight.

    • Perry
      February 9, 2016 at 11:36 am

      Nah, go on disability, sit in a recliner all day and watch Soaps, Oprah, Dr. Oz and the malpractice ads. Maybe someone screwed up your knee surgery so you can sue for a load of money too, and sue the pharmaceutical company for the NSAIDs that are giving you ulcers.

      • Perry
        February 9, 2016 at 11:36 am

        Oh and would you like some Vicodin with that?

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