What is Osteoarthritis and How Can Physiotherapy Help?


Osteoarthritis, or OA, is the most common form of arthritis. It causes joints to become stiff and painful. You may also notice that your joints are swollen or tender to touch. Joints may also make a clicking noise when you move them.

The intensity of these symptoms varies a lot between people. Some people may only feel a mild ache, while others may experience symptoms that are so significant they affect their ability to carry out day to day activities.

Almost any joint in the body can be affected, but it is most common in the hips, knees and small joints in the fingers.


During our daily lives, our joints are exposed to a small amount of damage. Generally, your body can repair this damage. However, sometimes the protective cartilage inside your joint breaks down, and small bony spurs can form. This can lead to pain, stiffness and swelling around the joint.

The underlying cause of this is unknown. However, you are more likely to experience Osteoarthritis if:

  • You are older
  • You have a family history of Osteoarthritis
  • You have experienced a big injury to a joint, or frequently over used a joint
  • You are a woman
  • You are overweight

How Physiotherapy Can Help

As well as medications to help with pain and swelling, Physiotherapy is a great way to manage Osteoarthritis.

Before giving you any treatment, a Physiotherapist will undertake a full assessment, looking at your medical history, what’s important to you and how you’re moving. You can find out more about a Physiotherapy assessment by clicking here.

A Physiotherapist will then set goals with you, making sure what’s important to you is prioritised. They will then set a treatment plan which may include

  • Advice on managing your condition
  • Advice on how to make day to day tasks more comfortable
  • “Hands – on” work, such as massage
  • Giving exercises to stretch strengthen your joint
  • Supporting you to become more active
  • Advice on walking aids or footwear
  • Advice on ways to manage your pain, such as ice therapy

If you’re wondering if Physiotherapy can help you, get in touch for a no obligation chat about your needs

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