Osteo Arthritis and Exercise


What can you do?

Our Hoppers Crossing team of Physiotherapists have a great interest in the field of sport and exercise medicine. Each practitioner keeps an eye on the latest research and uses this knowledge in the management of all our patients in order to provide the best possible care and accompanying treatment plan.

Traditionally, health care providers have advised against running for people diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis (OA), particularly those who are of advanced age and/or overweight. This is based on the anecdotal impression that running at an older age with a heavier body may make the knee OA worse. Over time, this concept has become a generally-accepted fact that people will self – discourage from this seemingly “high risk” exercise. Despite this, hospital surgical statistics tell us the rate of surgery for people requiring knee OA operations is soaring.

So, what do we do?


The above dilemma has lead the researchers in a study to analyse a national database in the United States (where the lifestyle is similar to Australia) from 2004 to 2014.

They discovered, surprisingly, that when compared to non-runners, participants who choose to run:

1. Do not have worsening knee OA structural severity in their prospective x-ray results

2. Do not have worsening knee pain

3. Do experience improved knee pain


So what are the take-home messages?

1. Running need not be discouraged in people with knee OA, overweight or both. Although the symptoms and your level of fitness may impact on the intensity and duration of your session, you can work with your sports and exercise physiotherapist here at Hoppers Physio to progress this gradually.

2. Pacing yourself systematically is the key for many people who were successful in achieving physical activity goals.

3. Runners in this cohort actually have more improvement in knee pain. This may be explained by muscles strengthening effect occurs in regular running. The stronger the muscles, the less impact is transferred to the knee joints.

4. How much is enough? As a minimum, we suggest 4 times per month. So ideally you want to achieve 1-2 runs per week all year round. But you will need to get a once over by your local GP before starting this routine.

Call our friendly physio team on (03) 9749 5110 to make an appointment and discuss your concerns around OA and exercise. Also look into our pool class schedule as hydrotherapy would might be a great option to consider!