Physiotherapy Treatment for Arthritis


Physiotherapy functions as a method of establishing the mobility and function of body parts affected by disease or injury. Physiotherapy treatment applies various techniques such as manual therapy, hydrotherapy and electrotherapy along with consulting, goal setting and counselling to assist patients with their condition. The main goal of physiotherapy as a treatment for arthritis is to improve mobility and re-establish the function of affected joints.

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a condition that affects the joints connecting the bones. It can be classified as either acute or chronic and is characterised by inflammation of the joints. Inflammation of the joints causes pain, stiffness and discomfort during mobility. There are two primary forms of arthritis: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The former occurs when cartilage between the bones is damaged. The latter is an autoimmune disease that causes a body’s immune system to manifest inflammation of the joints.

Physiotherapy for Treating Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis primarily affects knee joints, hips, spines and fingers. Physiotherapy uses a range of modalities to alleviate symptoms of osteoarthritis, including:

  • Exercises
  • Massages
  • Walking Aids
  • Electrotherapy
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Manual Therapy

In the case of osteoarthritis affecting the knee joint, a combination of hydrotherapy and manual therapy is often used as a treatment. Patients will be guided through exercises in warm water including stretching, aerobics and strengthening exercises. Manual therapy is another approach that utilises a hands-on approach to relieve pain and stiffness. It has been shown to have great benefits.

Physiotherapy when used to treat osteoarthritis of the hip, involves manual therapy, stretching and strengthening exercises, weight management techniques and hip joint protection strategies. The list of treatments is extensive because the hip joint bears a lot of body weight and therefore mobility issues can affect overall mobility to a large extent. 

Physiotherapy for Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis

Physiotherapists usually perform a physical assessment test before treatment for rheumatoid arthritis commences. Assessment involves evaluation of the gait, daily activities, range of joint motion, muscle strength, posture and respiratory function. Treatment then ensues and may involve one or more of the following modalities:

  • Hot/cold applications: Cold packs will be applied in acute situations and hot packs in chronic situations. Hot or cold packs are applied twice daily for ten to twenty minutes.
  • Electrical Stimulation-Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation therapy: This is the most frequently used form of electrotherapy used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and is highly effective if used once per week for a month.
  • Hydrotherapy: Rheumatoid arthritis patients is hydrotherapy is performed at regular intervals. This technique provides palliative relief in the instance of acute and chronic rheumatoid arthritis.

Contact Erko Physio For Arthritis Treatments

The benefits of physiotherapy treatment for arthritis are well documented and shown to work in most cases. If you suffer from acute or chronic osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis please contact our clinic to book an appointment with one of our licensed physiotherapists. We are open for business from 7:00am to 8:00pm Monday to Friday and 7:00am to 2:00pm on Saturday. Call us on (02) 9557 9272 to book an appointment.