Knee Arthritis



6 – 12 wks

Patello-femoral pain

What is knee arthritis?

To be specific – we’re talking about ‘osteo’ arthritis here – this is the process that happens in a specific joint (rather than other types of arthritis that can be more whole body). This type is basically where the cartilage (which is like the shock absorber of the joint) wears away and inflammation happens inside the joint. In the knee this can mean: swelling, stiffness, pain and looking weird when you walk. And its progressive – which means some of it is related to time – like sands through the hourglass. Basically, chronological advancement = more joint wear.

Why does knee arthritis happen?

The big factors are: Genetics (did your parents pass down arthritic genes?), Previous injury (did you bust your knee back in your halcyon days of netball/soccer/footy?), Weight (are you carrying more kgs than you should?) and Job (have you been in a job that involves a lot of kneeling/squatting/jumping up and down like a pogo?). These are all contributing factors but the honest truth is we still don’t fully understand the full scope of arthritis. My (unscientific) 2 bob would be that it is a bunch of holistic factors – diet, sleep, mental health and physical factors and ALL OF THE THINGS.

What can you do about knee arthritis?
Knee Arthritis Physiotherapy in Newcastle.

1. Reduce pain. No point busting your butt to get your quads stronger if your pain levels are super high and you can’t do the exercise that helps your knee. It’s a vicious cycle. So talk to your doctor about taking some anti-inflamms. Ask your physio to try taping it. Try some hands-on therapy like massage and mobilising. Maybe modify some of the activities that make your knee grumpy. Just reduce pain. Fast.
2. Strengthen it. As soon as possible, start working on muscle strength. Especially quads (=thigh) muscle and gluteals (=buttock) muscles. But it might also help to get some better calf and hams muscles. Without strength, your knee will probably struggle in the long term. But keep it inside the boundaries of big pain – otherwise you’re shooting yourself in the knee.
3. Load it. The trick is that your knee might be a bit worn but it needs some load. Weirdly, it actually likes the load BUT it doesn’t like too much. So its a dance figuring out what you can manage. A dance that can seem hard to control – talk to your physio to get clarity.
4. Injections. Sometimes, a corticosteroid injection can reduce pain and inflammation if you’re not progressing. There is also the possibility of hyaluronic acid injection which is a bit like an artificial lubricant. Talk to your physio about a referral to a good sports doc or knee specialist to talk through these options.

How long will knee arthritis take?

Most dodgy knees will start doing a bit better within 6 wks. Your muscles should work a bit better and hopefully the inflammation levels are reducing from their peak. You will probably have to do some sort of strength exercise in the long term but expect decent change by 12 wks.


Get on an exercise bike. Its a low-load way of getting your knee moving and strengthening your thigh muscles. Start small – even 5mins will do and build it up slowly. Added benefit of making your heart and lungs do some work too! 2nd tip is to use Xrays wisely. Sometimes medical folks will say things like ‘bone on bone’ or ‘knees of an 80yr old’ and I feel this is a bit negative-nelly. Might be better to agree there is ‘wearing’ of the knee (not so much ‘tearing’) and focus on what you can do and how you can help it.

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If pain persists, you may require the help of a professional physio. Contact Brightside Physio to make an appointment.


Brightside Physio
90 Elder St
Lambton (Newcastle)
NSW 2299

New location!
15 Lambton Rd
Broadmeadow (Newcastle)
NSW 2292



Find parking via De Vitre Street and walk down side alley to Elder Street entrance.



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