Can physiotherapy help with osteoarthritis in my knee?

Osteoarthritis (OA)  of the knee is a painful and debilitating condition that can affect quality of life in the aging population. Obesity and age are two major contributing factors but clinically we see patients that have generalised lack of strength suffering with osteoarthritis.

The underlying cause of knee OA is a degeneration of the cartilage which covers the end of the femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone). This can lead to changes in the bone surfaces and small bone growths called osteophytes. At the clinical stage of the disease, the joint is often inflammed causing it to be hot and tender to touch.

So can Physiotherapy help?

The answer is both yes and no…


When patients present in clinic we often see reduced range of motion especially bending and swelling around the knee. This is coupled with reduced strength and lots of pain. This is where physiotherapy can help

Exercise is the best medicine for improving all of the symptoms mentioned but sometimes the body needs an extra helping hand to reduce pain. This can be in the form of massage, acupuncture, ultrasound, taping and other passive treatments. The ultimate goal is to improve muscle activation and strength to support the knee but also improving overall lower limb strength can improve the biomechanics.


Unfortunately physiotherapy can’t reverse the aging process however much we try. There are no lotions or potions that can change the wrinkles that are on the inside of our bodies but when the pain becomes very bad there are other medical professionals that can help.

Pain can be managed using simple medication prescibed by the GP or an injection into the knee to reduce pain which a consultant or specialist trained GP can administer. Taking pain medication is no bad thing as it stops any compensatory movements such as limping ensuring your body continues to work in a normal fashion.

Orthotics can help reduce pain by altering the biomechanics of the knee and should be prescribed by a

medical professional.

Body weight is also an important factor to consider. As the knee joint is a load bearing joint the more load above the joint results in more load going through the knee which on an angry joint equals more pain!

In the worst case scenario a partial or total knee replacement is needed.

For more information on knee problems click here.

Time to take the leap in managing your knee pain?

We have a team of Physiotherapists that can help you control the controllables and get on top of pain, range of motion and strength. We also have twice weekly Lower Limb Strength classes available for £8 only lead by a Physiotherapist. Call today on 0118 9462299 for more information.