Physiotherapy Treatment for Osteoarthritis Pain

Osteoarthritis is one of the most common types of arthritis, affecting the hands, spine, and joints, including the hips, ankles, and knees.

This condition involves the breakdown of the cartilage that covers the ends of bones in joints. This causes the bones to rub together, resulting in pain, swelling, and a loss of motion. Because it’s progressive, osteoarthritis tends to get worse over time.

While it can affect people of all ages, the prevalence increases drastically beyond the age of 45, while it’s most common in adults over the age of 75. In fact, 36% of people in this age group experience osteoarthritis.

Between 2017-2018, it was estimated that approximately 2.2 million people were suffering from osteoarthritis in Australia. This means that today, 1 in 11 Australians are living with this condition.

explaining lower back pain

Common Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

  • Stiffness
  • Joint swelling
  • Pain
  • Joint tenderness
  • Loss of flexibility
  • Bone spurs
  • A grating sensation

Causes of Osteoarthritis

What are the joints affected by osteoarthritis?

It’s important to understand that while any joint can be affected by this condition, it is primarily the larger, weight-bearing joints that are most acutely affected. These include:


This is the most common lower-limb affected by this condition. For those with osteoarthritis, routine activities including walking and going up the stairs can be painful.


You may experience pain in your hip or the area surrounding it, including the groin, buttocks, the front of your thighs, the side of the hips or lower back.

While this type of pain can be explained by other medical conditions, it’s important to rule these out by disclosing the location of pain to a doctor and physiotherapist.


Experiencing osteoarthritis in the hand is commonly linked to a family history of this condition. It’s common to experience pain and swelling of the joints in the fingers. Certain gripping and pinching movements can make the pain worse.

Foot and Ankle

Here, the ankle and the joints in the foot – particularly the joint at the base of the big toe – are primarily affected. This can cause pain when walking and can result in swelling or deformity at the joint, leading to the formation of bunions.

Bunions can have a knock-on effect when the angle and the displacement of the big toe results in the second toe putting pressure on the third toe. They can worsen pain and cause deformity.

Spine and Neck

Identifying osteoarthritis in the spine and neck may not necessarily be easy for a doctor or physiotherapist. Because back pain is common, other conditions may have to be ruled out before a diagnosis of osteoarthritis is confirmed.

Sometimes, even the detection of osteoarthritic changes in the spine may not be the actual cause of pain.

Managing Osteoarthritis

While there is no complete cure for osteoarthritis, it can be managed in a way that symptoms pose minimal disruption and pain in day-to-day life.

Some of the recommendations doctors may make include:

Southport Central Physio & Our Approach to Treating Osteoarthritis

Apart from the treatments listed above, one of the main strategies for treating osteoarthritis is physiotherapy. This is something we have a special interest in.

Here, individuals are shown ways to use their joints in a healthy and non-painful manner, how to apply heating and cooling therapies for pain relief, taught motion and flexibility exercises, and are supported by a range of assistive devices.

Southport Central Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Clinic can provide you with the support you need.

Planning for your Appointment

Before visiting a physiotherapist, make note of your symptoms no matter how unrelated they may seem.

In addition to this, be prepared with personal information including lifestyle habits, family medical history, and medication you may be taking. You can also bring along a list of questions you may have for your physiotherapist.

Request an appointment

Senior Musculoskeletal Consultant

Mr Kevin (Gun) Kang

  • Mr Gun (Kevin) Kang is a physiotherapist with a special interest in chronic lower back pain and sporting injuries.
  • He believes that a tailored physiotherapy assessment is crucial in truly understanding each patient’s journey to identify and treat the underlying causes of the problem – not just the presenting symptoms.

Why choose our clinic

From the moment you book in for your consultation till the completion of your spinal treatments, you will realise the Southport Central Physiotherapy & Sport Injury Clinic difference.

  • Peace of mind
  • Trust
  • Clear communication
  • Dedication and commitment
  • Highest level of care
  • Problem-solving approach
  • Second opinions
  • Non-invasive treatment