Whether you have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis or have painful joints that you think may be arthritic, this summary will help you understand the causes and how physiotherapy can help you.

What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a common condition that may cause joint stiffness, swelling and pain usually in the knees, hips, feet, hands and spine. Some people's arthritis can be so severe that joint replacements are the best solution, while others experience few symptoms even though X-rays show that they have quite advanced osteoarthritis. 

What causes it?

It is not known exactly what causes osteoarthritis, although it can be triggered by injury or repeated stress on a joint dependent on your job or activities. It usually affects people aged 50 and over, and is more common in women. Genetic factors play a role in some forms of osteoarthritis. 

How can physiotherapy help?

Physiotherapists are highly skilled at helping those with osteoarthritis, as they can help improve movement, strengthen muscles, and increase or restore mobility.

What will happen when I see a physiotherapist?

The physiotherapist will assess how your joints are functioning, and will ask about how they are affecting your life. They will ask questions, watch your movements and feel the joints concerned.


Your consultation is likely to include:

  • exercises to do at home
  • some manual therapy
  • posture and lifestyle advice on activities to do and those to avoid
  • pain management techniques

It may also include:

  • applying heat or cold to the affected area, and showing you how to do this at home
  • teaching you how to use a walking aid, such as a stick, to help reduce the pain and make walking easier
  • electrotherapy 

Meanwhile, how can I help myself?

  • Try to keep mobile. Moving the affected joint helps reduce stiffness, and maintains the strength of the supporting muscles
  • Modify any activities that cause you discomfort, and spread these activities through the day, taking short rests when necessary
  • If your joints feel hot or swollen, rest them and apply a cool pack
  • Try to be positive – this will help you to manage the pain and be motivated to remain active


Note: If you are getting severe pain in one or more joints, or find some activities getting very difficult, go to your GP. He or she may prescribe medication to reduce the symptoms or refer you to a specialist or physiotherapist. 

Where can I get more information?

Arthritis Research Campaign (ARC) is a UK charity that funds research into arthritis and provides a range of information to individuals and healthcare professionals.

Telephone: 0870 850 5000
Website: www.arc.org.uk



Arthritis Care - is a UK charity that works with and for people with arthritis. Produces a range of information, and runs local groups around the country and a helpline.


Telephone: 0808 800 4050
Website: www.arthritiscare.org.uk


We have Osteoarthritis Specialist Physiotherapists at The Chorley Clinic 

Contact us

For all enquires please telephone: 01254 831804


Total Physio

207 Blackburn Road










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