Osteoarthritis (OA) – How Physical Therapy Can Help

Do you suffer from arthritis? You may have been told that treating arthritis means taking medications, receiving injections, or even considering surgical options. Have you thought “I have arthritis; there is nothing I can do about it because there is no cure; therefore, I have to live with it”? If you are suffering the effects of pain and immobility due to arthritis, physical therapy presents a worthwhile treatment option.

What is Osteoarthritis? The term “arthritis” is used to describe inflammation of a joint. Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis, and the leading cause of global disability. Although OA occurs in many areas of the body, the knee and the hip are most common. OA not only occurs in the aging population, but also in athletes, individuals with strenuous occupations, and individuals that perform repetitive movements/activities.

Signs and Symptoms of OA include:

  • Joint pain
  • Joint stiffness
  • Joint swelling
  • Joint tenderness
  • Stiffness after being in prolonged positions
  • Difficulty walking or standing for periods of time
  • Pain and stiffness with activity

OA leads to a decrease in physical activity and mobility due to pain, ultimately decreasing overall function and causing a decline in quality of life. The consequences of OA may also exacerbate the effects of comorbidities, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and dementia, resulting in an overall decline in health.

How We Help

Physical therapists (PT) are licensed practitioners and movement experts. Your physical therapist will perform a thorough evaluation and prescribe an individualized treatment plan. Your treatment plan may include:

  • Hands on manual therapy (such as massage and joint mobilization)
  • Exercises including stretching and strengthening
  • Cardiovascular exercises
  • Patient education/strategies to optimize mobility and decrease pain
  • Home modifications
  • Work space modifications
  • A home exercise program

Your physical therapist will provide one-on-one interventions to help you specifically meet your goals. Research shows that a supervised exercise program will help you obtain superior results. Your physical therapist will be there every step of the way to guide you through your program and help you to achieve your goals.

If you or a loved one are experiencing pain and immobility from OA, please contact us today!

Conley, B et al. Core recommendations for Osteoarthritis Care: A Systematic Review of Clinical Practice Guidelines. Arthritis Care Res, February 10, 2023.
Krishnamurthy, A et al. Synopsis of the 2020 US Department of Veterans Affairs/US Department of Defense Clinical Practice Guideline: The Non-Surgical Management of Hip and Knee Osteoarthritis. Clinical Practice Guideline. September 2021. 96 (9): 2435-2447.
Skou, S et al. Physical Activity and Exercise Therapy Benefit More Than Just Symptoms and Impairments in People With Hip and Knee Osteoarthritis. JOSPT. May 31, 2018. 48 (6): 439-447.
Vogels, Emhm et al. Clinical practice guidelines for physical therapy in patients with osteoarthritis of the hip or knee. 2003.