Exercise and Knee Osteoarthritis

By Dinah Mohd Khair

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative condition that occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the end of your bones wears down over time. OA commonly affects joints in your hands, knees, hips, and spine.


Osteoarthritis is commonly associated with:

  • Age
  • Weight
  • Past history of trauma/ surgery to the knee (i.e. ligament reconstruction)
  • Heavy physical occupations (i.e. placing increased load on the knees over many years)


Knee OA symptoms may commonly fluctuate, with some occasions being better or worse, depending on the activity. You may initially notice the symptoms with activity, but as OA progresses, you may start experiencing knee pain during the night or at rest.


Additionally, you may notice swelling, loss of flexibility/stiffness, tenderness, and pain as symptoms with OA. OA symptoms (such as pain or stiffness) can be managed. Exercise aims to help improve strength, stiffness, and flexibility around the joint. A positive effect of exercise in relieving pain and improving function with symptomatic hip/ knee OA has been shown by numerous studies. Exercise is a crucial component of treatment for someone with knee and hip OA.


Due to the symptoms of OA, you may find a decrease in your physical activities due to pain, which may lead to reduced muscle strength and flexibility. Physiotherapy can help people with OA in several ways. Some management options are specific to an individual’s contributing factors and lifestyle. Physiotherapy management will include developing an individualised exercise program and advice on loading management or activity modification.


There are many factors which can influence your treatment options (i.e lifestyle factors). At Sydney Advanced Physio we aim to give our clients the best care possible. If you are concerned about your knee OA and want an individualised treatment plan, come in and see us.


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