Osteoarthritis is an inflammation of the joints that deteriorates the cartilage within the joint, bones, and ligaments. It affects 80% of the older population over 65 years old in the United States according to a recent research. The most common joints affected are the knee and hips, following with the spine, fingers, and great toe joints.

Physical therapy provides an effective approach to reduce pain, improve movement, improve physical function, and educate the patient about a healthy lifestyle for weight management.

Osteoarthritis in Seniors

Osteoarthritis may affect the balance increasing the risk for falls in the elderly population. Physical therapy can educate the patient and family members about fall-prevention strategies to reduce the risks of falls.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Stiffness in the affected joint especially in the morning.
  • Stiffness after prolong sitting or resting.
  • Pain with movement.
  • Difficulty moving.
  • Joint instability (Joint buckles while standing).
  • Tenderness at joint lines.
  • Noisy joints (creaking, crunching, or cracking sounds).
  • Pain is relief with rest.
  • Decrease muscle strength.


Age-related degenerative changes of the joints, bones and ligaments.

Risk Factors

Age. The risk of developing osteoarthritis increase with age. The degeneration of the cartilage within the joint increases with age.

Gender. Women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis after the age of 50.

Genetics. People who have family relatives with osteoarthritis are more likely to develop osteoarthritis.

Past injuries. People who injured a specific joint in the past are at high risk.

Obesity. The excess of weight put more stress on the hips and knees.

Occupation. Repetitive squatting, twisting, and bending or prolong kneeling increase the risk for osteoarthritis.

What a Physical Therapy Can do?

Physical therapy relieves pain, reduces weight, improves physical function, and quality of life. It improves health and well-being in persons with osteoarthritis. The physical therapist designs a customized program to improve movement and strength and address the patient specific needs.

Therapeutic exercises

Therapeutic exercises are very effective to slow or delay the progression of osteoarthritis, improve quality of live, independence, and wellbeing. Exercises reduce joint pain, stiffness, improve range of motion and improve strength.

Exercises recommendations

Start walking, or cycling on an even surfaces for 10 to 15 minutes and progress to 30-45 minutes as tolerated. Swimming is an effective and safe exercise for improving pain and function.

A frequency of three to four times per week is recommended.

Resistance exercise training to improve strength.

Strength training to improve joint stability

Explosive-type progressive resistance training prior hip replacement to improve leg muscle power and a faster recovery after surgery.


The intensity and frequency should be reduced If pain gets worse after two hour of exercising.

If your hip or knee are feeling stiff, painful, and you are having hard time to move around call now to find out how Physical Therapy can help you recover faster, move easier, and effortless:  805-203-9940

The information in this blog is for educational and informational purpose only, its content is provided based upon evidence-based medicine, knowledge, and experience as a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT).