Hips, Knees and Osteoarthritis…

Do you suffer with knee or hip pain?

Have you been told by your GP or other health practitioner that you have OA or ‘degenerative’ changes in your knee or hip?

That you need or will need in the future surgery or a joint replacement? 

Have you been to see a Physiotherapist to discuss other options for your joint pain?

If you have answered no to the last question and yes to one or more of the ones above then this is for you!

A little bit about Osteoarthritis:

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a condition of a joint that affects not only the bone surfaces, it also affects the cartilage, ligaments and muscles that surround that joint. OA is often referred to as “wear and tear” or “degeneration” but is also contributed to by the process where the joint is trying to repair itself. A variety of traumas which can happen over a life time may trigger the joints need to repair itself.  OA includes a slow but efficient repair process that follows trauma, this results in the structure of the joint being altered but symptom-free. In some people however, the process cannot compensate resulting in symptomatic OA (e.g. pain, morning stiffness). This may be because of overwhelming trauma or a compromised repair process.  Not everyone that has signs of OA on x-rays or other scans will be symptomatic nor will this always be the sole cause of their symptoms.

OA may include any of the following:

  • Inflammation of the connective and/or soft tissue around the joint
  • Decreased joint cartilage
  • Bony spurs around the edges of the joint


OA can affect any joint but occurs most often in the hips, knees, big toe and the finger joints. Its high occurrence in the hip and knee joints has to do with these joints being large weight bearing joints that over a lifetime take a lot of force, load and shock absorption. This is where weight management, increasing physical activity and improving muscle mass is highly encourage by Physiotherapists to support the joints and the forces that go through them with everyday life. Several articles and studies have found positive links between weight loss, increase in muscle mass, and increase in activity with a reduction in joint pain, improved quality of life and/or functional levels.

There has been a lot of research over the last 10 or so years that has indicated the benefits of physiotherapy education and tailored exercise programs in reducing hip and knee pain associated with OA changes in these joints. Also research and expert opinion has shown reduced or delayed need for surgery, improved function and quality of life and decreased dependence on pharmacological interventions e.g. paracetamol, to come from tailored education, exercise and weight loss.

Physiotherapy assessment and intervention is encouraged as the first line of treatment for anyone with knee or hip pain. So if you are currently suffering with this then call Embrace Life and book an appointment with one of our Physiotherapists to see how they can help you improve your quality of life.



Roos, E.M. et al. (2012). Osteoarthritis 2012 year in review: rehabilitation and outcomes. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, Volume 20 , Issue 12 , 1477 – 1483

Arthritis Australia, “Osteoarthritis” https://arthritisaustralia.com.au/types-of-arthritis/osteoarthritis/   [Date accessed: 13/06/2018]

Kraus, V. B., Blanco, F. J., Englund, M., Karsdal, M. A., & Lohmander, L. S. (2015). Call for Standardized Definitions of Osteoarthritis and Risk Stratification for Clinical Trials and Clinical Use. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage / OARS, Osteoarthritis Research Society, 23(8), 1233–1241. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.joca.2015.03.036