Osteoarthritis of the Knee – What is it, How is it Treated?

Knee pain is a common complaint treated by physiotherapists in Australia, so if you struggle with stairs or find it difficult to walk the dog, rest assured you are not alone. Knee pain can affect people of any age, and it may be caused by injury or medical conditions such as arthritis. Around 2.2 million Australians suffer from osteoarthritis, and the disease is long-term and progressive. The good news is that with guidance from your physiotherapist you can reduce your pain, improve mobility and delay (if not avoid) surgery.

Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

Most people over the age of 40 will experience in osteoarthritis in some form, though in most cases it is very mild and easily manageable during the early stages. The knee is a very large and complex joint, and over time the wear and tear can cause inflammation and degeneration of the cartilage which provides cushioning to the joint.

Severity and specific symptoms of knee pain will vary for each individual, but some common symptoms include:

  • Stiff knees, especially in the morning or after long periods of inactivity
  • Knee pain which worsens when climbing stairs, kneeling or performing exercises
  • A grating, grinding or clicking sound when you move your knee
  • Tender or swollen area surrounding the knee joint

Causes of Knee Osteoarthritis

The ageing process is the most common cause of knee osteoarthritis, but not everyone will experience it. Other risk factors include being obese, family history of OA and injuries sustained during high impact sports. Some people may even live with OA with no noticeable symptoms, even though X-rays show clear signs of OA. If you do notice symptoms, you should visit your physiotherapist to discuss your treatment options before your condition progresses to the next stage.

How is it Diagnosed and Treated?

To establish whether your knee pain is caused by OA or something else, your physiotherapist will perform a physical examination. This is then followed by X-Rays to confirm the diagnosis and gain a better understanding of the extent of your condition and precise location of OA within the joint.

Treatment is focussed on reducing pain and inflammation whilst also increasing muscle strength, range of motion, balance and overall knee function. Your physiotherapist may propose an exercise therapy program specially tailored to suit your ability, experience and symptoms. We can also provide guidance and assistance in helping you to lose weight, which will further reduce the severity of your symptoms and help to increase mobility.

Many patients respond favourably to physiotherapy, with only the most severe cases of OA needing to opt for knee replacement surgery.


Suffering from Knee Pain? Visit Therapy Services Physio Today

Therapy Services Physio are committed to helping patients achieve the best possible outcome, so if you are concerned about knee pain please don’t hesitate to book an appointment today. Following an accurate diagnosis and commencement of physio treatment, you should notice a reduction in pain and improvement in knee function and overall mobility.

Schedule an appointment today by calling (02) 8382 6935, or visit our contact page.