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Physical Therapy for Arthritis in Brighton

Man holding knee sitting on treatment couch

Osteoarthritis most commonly affects the knees, hips, and hands. In the over-60s age group, it affects an estimated 10% of men and 18% of women, although it can affect people much younger than this as well. 

The underlying disease process involves the degradation of articular cartilage and remodelling of bone. An outdated view of osteoarthritis is "wear and tear", what we now say is "wear and repair".

Treatments include exercise therapy, manual therapy, medication, injections, joint-support braces, and surgery.

There are other types of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, axial spondyloarthritis (formerly ankylosing spondylitis), juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and reactive arthritis to name a few. These types of arthritis are part of a different disease process involving the immune system and you can read more about these here.

Person holding hip in garden

Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

  • Joint pain

  • Joint stiffness

  • Joint swelling

  • Change in joint appearance (I.e larger, knobbly joints in hands)

  • Weakness and muscle wasting

  • Morning stiffness (for up to 30 minutes)

There are multiple factors that can lead to the development of osteoarthritis. The risk factors include:

  1. Genetics

  2. Age

  3. Obesity

  4. Female sex (hip osteoarthritis is twice as common in women as men)

  5. Manual labour occupations

Knee osteoarthritis

Knees are commonly affected by OA and people struggle with pain and stiffness, particularly in the mornings and on extended activities such as long walks. There may be times when the knee has a "flare-up" of intense pain and stiffness where rest will help alleviate this. 

Hip osteoarthritis

Hips are also very commonly affected and sleep is a big problem for lots of sufferers. Getting in and out of the bath or car is also very difficult. Even doing up your shoelace is a difficult task! Having hip OA can also affect surrounding joints like the knee or lower back on the same side or opposite side as these joints will compensate for the increased load placed on them.

Osteopath assessing leg of patient

How Is Osteoarthritis Treated?


If all other non-operative measures have failed, surgery is considered. This will either be arthroplasty, osteotomy, or arthrodesis.

Steroid injections or hyaluronic acid injections

If the pain is unmanageable, injections may be considered to help settle things down. Steroid injections are the most common form of injections offered by the NHS to help with joint inflammation. There are also hyaluronic acid injections that help to restore the cushioning within the joint which are not widely available on the NHS.


Non-Steroidal-Anti-Inflammatory-Drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly prescribed for osteoarthritis. An example of these would be Ibuprofen or Naproxen. This is to help control the inflammation and pain associated with osteoarthritis.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is the most common treatment for osteoarthritis initially. The aim of this would be to restore joint mobility, reduce inflammation, and decrease pain levels associated with the disease. There is also advice on bracing, maintaining fitness, and improving strength levels through exercise.

In knee and hip osteoarthritis,  physical therapy can often make a positive difference in helping to manage the condition. This may be by directly treating the joints, e.g. by joint mobilisations, soft tissue massage, stretching, assisted movements and resistance training, or exercise prescription.

Person holding knee with both hands

Our Approach to Arthritis Treatment

At JG Osteopaths we provide specialist physical therapy for osteoarthritis at our Brighton clinic. Helping patients with osteoarthritis has been a passion of Jonathan's for many years now and has seen great results.

Osteopathy is a non-invasive physical therapy that can help manage osteoarthritis by helping to restore joint function and reduce levels of pain to get you back to living your normal daily life. We are Allied Health Professionals and are registered with the GOsC. You can learn more on our about osteopathy page.

Expert Advice

As well as providing specialist treatment to help with your osteoarthritis, we can also give you advice on living with your condition and expert advice on things like choosing the best mattress, pillow, or chair, and on working or sleeping with arthritis. 

Jonathan has a wealth of experience in treating patients who have advanced forms of arthritis. This is a keen interest of his and this is reflected in his success with his patients.

Booking Your First Appointment

At your first appointment we will will carry out a comprehensive assessment of your condition. We will explain our diagnosis and treatment plan and how many sessions we think you will need before proceeding to treatment. We pride ourselves in treating the person behind the problem, and aim to make sure you feel involved and listened-to at every stage of the treatment process.

Book an Appointment

Booking and appointment is quick and easy using our online system. Use the button below to go to our booking page where you can select the time that suits you and book online. 

If you have any questions or want to speak to us before booking, don't hesitate to call us on 07812528049 or email

Three women dancing

Useful Links

Arthritis foundation provides support and information to people living with arthritis

Versus Arthritis provide advice and the latest research on arthritis

The Juvenile Arthritis Project provides useful information on arthritis in children

You can also find further information on arthritis from Hopkinsmedicine, Curearthritis, WebMD, and the NHS

Jonathan Gaffney, Osteopath

About The Author

The information on this page was written by Jonathan Gaffney, a qualified Osteopath registered with the General Osteopathic Council.

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