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Back pain, have arthritis in knee, degradation of patella. Want to reduce weight. Will moving out of cold countries help arthritis?

Answered by
Dr. Praveen Tayal

Orthopaedic Surgeon

Practicing since :1994

Answered : 11767 Questions

Posted on Fri, 29 Jun 2012 in Arthritis
Question: I am having normal India diet. 3 times meal, but the heavy meal will be on night because of work schedule.
My work requires very less mobility, as i work on IT.
On an average 3 hours per week I spend on small exercise. But I need to walk around 40 minutes daily as part of my travel to office.
Last year I had been diagnosed with Arthritis on the knee, degradation of patella.
One of the cause was my weight, I am 94 kg, 186 CM height , 31 years old.
For the past 6 years I am living in Europe (5yrs in Germany, and few months in London).
During winter I will get severe pain on knee, but during summer I am fine and when I am in India also it is fine. So I assume that cold weather is not really good for me .
Also I wanted to reduce my weight. I had tried different diet programs like GM diet. They had given a small break but it is again got worsen. I have a very big tummy in terms of size proportion that was the only over sized body part, because of that I also used to get lower back pain. So I have following questions.

1.      Moving out of cold countries will help my Arthritis ?
2.     What is the best diet I can follow? ( I am non vegetarian)
3.     Typical exercise I could do without hurting my knee more ?
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 2 hours later

Thanks for posting your query.

I have read your problem in detail. Reactive arthritis of knee usually gets aggravated in a cold weather. If you can opt to live in India or a country with a warmer climate then it will be be helpful.
Meanwhile as long as you are in Europe you can do a regular hot fomentation of your knee joint thrice daily and apply a local analgesic gel topically for some relief.

Soaking in a tub of hot water will also be helpful.

Regarding the dietary modifications to lose weight, following changes will be helpful-
*Try to have a heavy breakfast consisting of fiber XXXXXXX foods like porridge, oats, jowar, celery, dry fruits, sprouted grams, brown bread, etc. Avoid having a heavy dinner at all costs.
*Have healthy snacks easily available, e.g. carrot or celery sticks in the fridge and plenty of fruit.
*Keep fat and sugar intake low.
* Eat a variety of foods, especially pasta, rice, wholemeal bread, and other whole-grain foods. Reduce your fat-intake. You should also eat lots of fruits and vegetables.

Arthritis pain diets include a comprehensive list of foods that it is recommended you avoid. By eliminating these foods by following an arthritis diet you may be able to get arthritis pain relief.
You may find that you do not need to eliminate all foods on the list and only needs certain foods to be restricted. You can start by eliminating all foods on the list and then re-introduce them one at a time into your arthritis diet and see the results over 2 to 3 weeks. If you find that your arthritis pain increases then there is a good chance that this particular food is a trigger and it would be wise to totally eliminate if from your diet. In other words you need to experiment a little with your arthritis diet to see what works for you.

Foods best avoided in arthritis pain diets:
•Red meat (i.e. beef, lamb, pork). Substitute chicken and oily fish.
•Members of the nightshade family such as:
- Tomatoes - white potatoes - eggplants - red peppers - tobacco.
•Wax covered fruit and citrus fruit. These days much of our fruit is wax covered to improve shelf life but organic fruit should not be.
•Dairy products such as cow’s milk, cheese and yogurt.
•Sugar and foods containing sugar:
- Chocolate - sweets - soft drinks - syrup - honey - treacle
•Flour and XXXXXXX made from white wheat:
- Avoid foods where ingredients include cereal binders, cereal fillers or cereal protein, wheat starch or edible starch.
•Dry roasted nuts - raw nuts like almonds, walnuts and brazil nuts may be beneficial.
- Alcohol - tea - coffee (including decaffeinated) - cocoa - soft drinks
•Foods containing caffeine.
•Restrict use of butter and margarine.
•Salt, pepper and vinegar.
You may find that you do not need to eliminate all these foods but only some or you might get arthritis pain relief by restricting your intake of some foods.
A good arthritis diet does not need to be boring. Use your imagination in preparing foods to get variety in flavours and taste.
In this treatment, just as there are foods to avoid while battling arthritis, there are foods which must be consumed. These foods will help in alleviating the symptoms of arthritis.
•The most essential foods which you should have when suffering from arthritis are anti-inflammatory foods like ginger, garlic, turmeric and apples.
•Fruits especially XXXXXXX in vitamin C should be consumed. The fruits XXXXXXX in Vitamin C include sweet limes, oranges, strawberries, kiwi fruit, peaches, apples, etc.
•Along with Vitamin C, arthritic diet should also be XXXXXXX in Vitamin A. Foods XXXXXXX in vitamin A include squash, collard, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, etc.
•Flax-seed contains Omega 3 essential fatty acids. These seeds can be had in powdered form as well.
•Have nuts and seeds like walnut, almond, linseed, pumpkin seed, etc. which are not roasted and are not salted.
•Pulses, lentils, brown unpolished rice should be consumed.
•People with arthritis benefit a great deal from food XXXXXXX in magnesium like apricots, bananas, beans, whole grains, leafy vegetables.
•Fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna, trout and sardines are XXXXXXX sources of Omega 3 essential fatty acids and Vitamin E, which help in alleviating arthritic condition.
Now that you know what foods to avoid with arthritis, it is important that you are well observant about what you eat. This will help you to know which food helps in alleviating the symptoms of arthritis and which of them aggravates the symptoms.

The key, however, is to eat whole natural healthy food.

The mild aerobics and brisk walking are best for your knee joints.
In knee arthritis, calf and hamstring stretches can be helpful under the guidance of a physiotherapist after the acute pain subsides completely. Quadriceps drill will also be helpful if done under the guidance of a physiotherapist.

Generally we recommended, rest, graded exercises, rest and graded exercises to let you know the right amount of time you can spend on exercise without injuring yourself.
Posture modifications can be adopted by speaking to an orthopaedician and physiotherapist in person.

I hope this answers your query.
In case you have additional questions or doubts, you can forward them to me, and I shall be glad to help you out.
Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.
Wishing you good health.
Dr. Praveen Tayal.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Yogesh D

The User accepted the expert's answer

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