Knee health

Forum: Lose weight to ease strain

The morning crowd along Ulu Pandan Park Connector, on April 15, 2020.
The morning crowd along Ulu Pandan Park Connector, on April 15, 2020.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

Recently, two Forum writers exchanged views on the cause of knee strain.

One put it down to the hard surface of our park connector paths (Have softer surfaces on more park connector pathways for running, Jan 11), while the other was adamant that poor running technique is the main cause (Main cause of knee strain is wrong running technique, not surface of park connector paths, Jan 19).

While both could be right in their own ways, we also need to consider the excess weight which the 36.2 per cent of Singaporeans who are overweight (according to 2017 Ministry of Health figures) place on their knees.

With a large proportion of overweight people and the fact that excess weight on joints as well as the inflammatory effects of deposited fat in the joints can cause joint pain, one can expect knee pain to frequently show up in the population, independent of running surface or technique.

In a recent survey, 30 per cent of the 500 respondents said they had gained an average of around 5kg during the pandemic (Covid-19 a weighty burden for some, a push to exercise for others, Jan 24).

This could mean the previously overweight people got heavier and those who were at a normal weight have now joined the ranks of the overweight.

Singaporeans have become blase about the brewing obesity epidemic in our society.

Furthermore, when bad things happen, it is common to be in denial or to attribute them to external factors.

In the case of knee pain, one could expect people to blame hard surfaces, wrong running techniques, genes, lousy shoes and so on, instead of them taking a hard look at their own weight and doing something about it.

Moving with an extra 5kg will do damage to the knees.

Instead of tearing up the hard surface of our massive park connector network, it would be better to lose some weight.

Lim Teck Koon

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 27, 2021, with the headline 'Lose weight to ease strain'. Subscribe