Osteoarthritis in the Knee

Osteoarthritis Knee

Knee Replacement after having severe osteoarthritis in the knee

Osteoarthritis in the knee is the most common condition affecting synovial joints.  When this type of arthritis is present, it usually involves degeneration and destruction of the various joint structures, especially the cartilage.

Knee Arthritis Symptoms

Symptoms of osteoarthritis in the knee often include pain with weight bearing, swelling, locking and crepitus (clicking and popping in the joint).  It is different for everyone.  For some people, prolonged weight bearing increases the pain in a joint.  For others, their primary complaint is stiffness and soreness after being still (like waking in the morning or getting up from prolonged sitting).

Treatment for Knee Arthritis

There are many different treatment options available for osteoarthritis in the knee, depending on the stage of arthritic change.  Of course, nothing can reverse the degeneration that has occurred, but slowing the degenerative process and keeping the joint healthy is the best way to delay a joint replacement and allow a person with arthritis in the knee to be able to participate in the activities they like to do.

Living with Osteoarthritis

According to a 2008 systematic review published in the journal Physical Therapy, there is high quality evidence supporting exercise and weight reduction for managing osteoarthritis in the knee.  At our clinic, we combine this approach with the use of low-level laser therapy.  Numerous studies have advocated the use of low-level laser therapy as a means of reducing pain in arthritic knees.

Physiotherapy for Knee Arthritis

Unfortunately, there is low quality evidence to support the usefulness of therapeutic ultrasound, bracing or thermotherapy (three approaches that are frequently used in physiotherapy).  As mentioned above, our clinic tends to utilize laser therapy, safe strengthening and activity selection that keeps the joint asymptomatic.  This service can be provided by either our physiotherapists or our chiropractors.

Are There Other Ways to Treat Arthritis?

Yes.  The goal of managing osteoarthritis in the knee is to slow the degenerative process and keep the joint healthy.  There are many different ways to do this, each with varying levels of evidence to support them and therein with variable success rates.  Everyone is different and what works for one person might not work as well for another.  Glucosamine, acupuncture, synovial injections, orthotics and surgery are also common treatment approaches for knee arthritis.  Consulting with a knowledgeable health care practitioner is a great first step in choosing the appropriate treatment strategy for you!

For more information – 905.220.7858   email – info@burlingtonsportstherapy.com


Bjordal JM, Couppe C, Chow RT et al. A systematic review of low-level laser therapy with location-specific doses for pain from chronic joint disorders. Aust J Physiotherapy 2003; (4).

Brosseau L, Gam A, Harman K et al. Low level laser therapy (classes I, II and III) for treating osteoarthritis (Cochrane Review). The Cochrane Collaboration 2004; 3.

Jamtvedt G, Dahm KT, Christie A et al. Physical therapy interventions for patients with osteoarthritis of the knee: an overview of systematic reviews. Physical Therapy 2008; 88(1): 123-136.

Lopez AD, Murray CCJL. The global burden of disease, 1990-2020. Nat Med. 1998; 4: 1241-1243.

The purpose of this blog is to educate patients and those interested in improving their health and wellbeing. We recommend that you always consult with a qualified health care professional before applying any of the topics or suggestions mentioned on this website. Appropriate practitioners include (but are not limited to) chiropractors and physiotherapists. This information is not intended to diagnose or treat your condition. Our Burlington Chiropractic Clinics, Burlington Physiotherapy Clinics, Dr. McIntyre or Dr. McDowall accept no responsibility for any complications arising from the use of any suggestions, exercises or topics of discussion on this site. Should you have any further questions about these topics please contact our Burlington Chiropractic Clinics or Burlington Physiotherapy Clinics.