Physiotherapy on Macquarie

02 9252 5770
Level 1, 139 Macquarie Street, Sydney

Physiotherapy on Pitt

02 9264 4153
Suite 1, Level 5, 321 Pitt Street, Sydney
Sydney Sports & Orthopaedic Physiotherapy
Home « Common Injuries « General Health « GENERAL HEALTH «  Osteoarthritis


The problem

  • Is also known as OA or degenerative arthritis and is a group of diseases involving degradation of joints, articular cartilage and bone
  • Cartilage is a tissue which lubricates and cushions joints
  • OA can have a number of predisposing factors, including: hereditary, mechanical, metabolic and developmental
  • OA often results in pain which decreases movement and function, leading to wasting of muscles and weakening of structures.

Interesting facts

  • OA affects around 3 million people in Australia, representing about 15% of the population
  • OA commonly affects hands, feet, the spine and the large weight bearing joints such as hips and knees.
  • Muscle weakness around an osteoarthritic joint is a common finding
  • Diabetes, obesity, injury and inflammatory diseases such as gout can promote the development of OA in joints
  • OA is the leading cause of pain and disability in the elderly
  • 90% of total hip replacements and 95% of total knee replacements are performed for OA in Australia 

What you can expect/look out for

  • Acute pain
  • Decrease in function of affected joints
  • Stiffness and swelling
  • Crepitus or creaking of joints

Hints for self-management

  • Activity modification to reduce irritation of affected joints
  • A graduated exercise program to increase strength of the surrounding muscles
  • Weight management with diet and exercise
  • Anti-inflammatory medication

Management options

  • Research has shown that exercise is one of the most important treatments for OA of the hip and knee.
  • Low impact exercises (where there is less impact going through your hips and knees) include water exercise, cycling, walking and strengthening exercises
  • Strengthening exercises can be prescribed by a physiotherapist or exercise physiologist
  • Braces/supportive devices for affected areas eg knee brace
  • Arthroscopy and in the most severe cases joint replacement surgery

More information

  • Among the 100 different types of arthritis, OA is the most common
  • OA is more common as we age
  • Most cases of OA have no known cause and are referred to as primary OA. When the cause is known, the condition is referred to as secondary OA
  • Repetitive use of worn joints over time can lead to loss of cartilage
  • Inflammation of cartilage can stimulate new bone growth (spurs and osteophytes) which form around the joint (see below)



 At Sydney Sports and Orthopaedic Physiotherapy our highly qualified physiotherapists specialise in the assessment, treatment and prevention of neuromusculoskeletal injuries.

Contact us today - 9252 5770

This handout was prepared by Sydney Sports and Orthopaedic Physiotherapy and is intended as a general information service. Please note that the information provided is not intended as a substitute for advice from a registered physician or healthcare professional. If symptoms persist, please consult your doctor.



Sydney Sports & Orthopaedic Physiotherapy
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Sydney Sports & Orthopaedic Physiotherapy


Level 1
139 Macquarie Street
Ph: +61 2 9252 5770
Fax: +61 2 9252 5771
Sydney Sports & Orthopaedic Physiotherapy


Sydney Sports & Orthopaedic Physiotherapy


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Sydney Sports & Orthopaedic Physiotherapy