Kids Knee Problems: Many Heavier Kids have Evidence of Knee Arthritis

By /

kids knee problems

Are kids knee problems being fueled by an obesity epidemic? A sedentary lifestyle and poor diet can lead to childhood obesity, but few would have imagined that childhood obesity can result in knee arthritis in young adults. There has been a lot of focus the past few years on the dwindling activity levels of our children and the abundance of unhealthy foods they eat. This not only results in health problems in childhood but also rears its ugly head in early adulthood where it presents itself in a myriad of conditions: osteoarthritis can now be added to that list.

Osteoarthritis results from the cartilage on the ends of our bones being worn down over time. The more stress on cartilage, such as obesity, the greater and faster the wear and tear. In addition, obesity changes the chemical environment of the knee, making it more likely to be toxic. Because the damage to cartilage is progressive and cannot be undone, the damage experienced in childhood obesity can lead to knee arthritis in young adults. If that stress is not relieved, osteoarthritis will continue to worsen with age.

In a recent study, research discovered early lesions in the knee cartilage of children and adolescents who were morbidly obese. Males and females, a total of 57 subjects, aged 2 to 15 years were included in the study. Researchers divided them into three groups: heavy kids with knee pain, those without knee pain, and normal weight kids without knee pain. Using MRI, cartilage lesions were found in 38 of the 39 morbidly obese subjects. A much greater number of lesions could be seen on the images of children with knee pain. In addition, these kids had poorer knee function. 

The upshot? Childhood obesity is associated with MRI evidence of early knee arthritis. Though childhood obesity increases the risk for knee arthritis in young adults, measures can be taken to eliminate risk factors and stop the progression of the early onset of the disease. Every pound an overweight child loses relieves pressure on his or her knees. Nutritious food choices (e.g., whole vegetables and fruits and lean meats) and activities that get children moving and sweating may help prevent arthritis down the line!

Learn about Regenexx procedures for knee conditions.
Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications. View Profile

If you have questions or comments about this blog post, please email us at [email protected]

NOTE: This blog post provides general information to help the reader better understand regenerative medicine, musculoskeletal health, and related subjects. All content provided in this blog, website, or any linked materials, including text, graphics, images, patient profiles, outcomes, and information, are not intended and should not be considered or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please always consult with a professional and certified healthcare provider to discuss if a treatment is right for you.

Get Blog Updates by Email

By submitting the form, you are agreeing that you read and consent to our Privacy Policy. We may also contact you via email, phone, and other electronic means to communicate information about our products and services. We do not sell, or share your information to third party vendors.

Category: Knee
Copyright © Regenexx 2021. All rights reserved.



9035 Wadsworth Pkwy #1000
Westminster, CO 80021


*DISCLAIMER: Like all medical procedures, Regenexx® Procedures have a success and failure rate. Patient reviews and testimonials on this site should not be interpreted as a statement on the effectiveness of our treatments for anyone else.

Providers listed on the Regenexx website are for informational purposes only and are not a recommendation from Regenexx for a specific provider or a guarantee of the outcome of any treatment you receive.