Britain's obesity epidemic is leading to an increase in knee problems
Rising levels of obesity are leading to an increase in the number of people suffering from knee pain, a surgeon has said.
Consultant orthopaedic surgeon Ronan Banim said surgeons are seeing knees that are "literally being crushed" by excess weight.
He warned that if the levels of obesity continue to increase, the number of people who need knee replacements is likely to "go through the roof".
He made his comments after new research suggested 28% of UK workers are suffering from painful knees, and almost a quarter of 1,600 people aged 16 to 65 surveyed said they have been living with pain for up to two years.
Those over the age of 55 suffer the most, with one in 10 questioned by healthcare charity Nuffield Health claiming they are in constant pain.
Mr Banim, who works at Nuffield Health Chester Hospital, said: "If levels of obesity continue to rise the number of people needing knee replacements is likely go through the roof.
"In clinics we are seeing knees that are literally being crushed by excess weight. This puts pressure on joints and can increase the long-term risk of osteoarthritis.
"Weight control, regular, careful, exercise and healthy eating are extremely important. Although knee pain may not be life threatening, if left untreated it can seriously impact on quality of life. Patients should seek early treatment and, where necessary, consider losing just a small amount of weight as this could rule out the need for future surgery."
Dr Sarah Dauncey, medical director at Nuffield Health, added: "To minimise the potential risks of getting knee pain, people who are becoming more active should look at pre and post activity warm-ups and downs, wearing good trainers and supporting the joint when exercising."