Can Physiotherapy help my Osteoarthritis?

August 24, 2018

Yes! High-quality evidence proves that exercise reduces pain and improves physical function in patients with osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis (OA) has a significant impact on one’s physical function and quality of life. The knee, hip and hand joints are predominantly involved, resulting in physical symptoms of pain, swelling and reduced function. Furthermore psychosocial symptoms of anxiety and depression can occur as a result of this condition.

Exercise has been shown to reduce pain and also demonstrate positive effects on physical function immediately after treatment, and sustained 3-6 months after treatment. Research has also shown that Physiotherapy manual mobilisation alongside exercise prescription has shown greater improvement in pain.

In summary your Physiotherapist can help your osteoarthritis through use of manual mobilisation to optimise pain relief, alongside a prescribed evidence based exercise program to target the affected joint(s).

Written by: Nicole Pereira


Walsh, N. E., Pearson, J., & Healey, E. L. (2017). Physiotherapy management of lower limb osteoarthritis. British Medical Bulletin, 122(1), 151-161. doi:10.1093/bmb/ldx012

Bennell, K. (2013). Physiotherapy management of hip osteoarthritis. Journal of Physiotherapy, 59(3), 145-157. doi:10.1016/s1836-9553(13)70179-6

Jansen, M. J., Viechtbauer, W., Lenssen, A. F., Hendriks, E. J., & De Bie, R. A. (2011). Strength training alone, exercise therapy alone, and exercise therapy with passive manual mobilisation each reduce pain and disability in people with knee osteoarthritis: a systematic review. Journal of Physiotherapy, 57(1), 11-20. doi:10.1016/s1836-9553(11)70002-9

Beckwée, D., Vaes, P., Cnudde, M., Swinnen, E., & Bautmans, I. (2013). Osteoarthritis of the knee: Why does exercise work? A qualitative study of the literature. Ageing Research Reviews, 12(1), 226-236. doi:10.1016/j.arr.2012.09.005