Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting millions of people worldwide. Osteoarthritis occurs when the protective tissues of our joints gradually break down over time. Although osteoarthritis can affect any joint, the disorder most commonly affects the hip and knee joints.

There are many tissues are affected with osteoarthritis these include,

  • Joint capsule
  • Surrounding muscles
  • Ligaments
  • Cartilage
  • Meniscus in the knees
  • Labrum in the hips

Osteoarthritis symptoms can usually be managed conservatively. Staying active, maintaining a healthy weight, and receiving certain treatments will slow the progression of the disease and help improve pain and joint function.



Osteoarthritis symptoms often develop slowly and worsen over time. Signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis include:

  • Pain around or in the joint
  • Joint stiffness upon awakening or after being inactive
  • Tenderness around the joint
  • Loss of flexibility in the joint
  • Clicking or a grating sensation
  • Swelling in the joint

Causes & Risk Factors

Osteoarthritis from the hip and knee can be caused by a wide variety of factors. Only around 50% of people who suffer significant trauma to knee will go on to develop osteoarthritis 10 to 15 years later. This means a significant number of people who suffer from osteoarthritis cases is due to a gradual inflammatory process. While this process is not fully understood yet, we know that the below conditions increase your risk of developing hip and knee osteoarthritis.

  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Significant hip or knee trauma in the past
  • Muscles weakness
  • Excess weight
  • Physical inactivity


The severity of osteoarthritis of the hip and knee varies greatly from person to person. Often people will hear the phrase “bone on bone” from their x-ray report. However, severity cannot be determined on x-ray. This is because x-rays only measure the cartilage loss and do not provide any indication of the other affected tissues. This is an important distinction as osteoarthritis is recognised as a whole joint disease. It is not uncommon for someone to have a “bone on bone” x-ray but be able to live a healthy and active lifestyle with minimal discomfort due to the other protective joint tissues.


There are many treatment options available to manage and treat osteoarthritis of the hip and knee. Your first line treatment should consist of education and exercise by a qualified physiotherapist as they are often best placed to provide this. Secondly, you can consider using pain medication, bracing, massage, and manual therapy to help reduce pain in the short term. Thirdly, you should consider surgery as a last resort as only a small percentage of people will undergo knee or hip surgery. Many people who have osteoarthritis will not require surgery in their lifetime.

Osteoarthritis Program

GLA:D®, Good Life with osteoArthritis: Denmark, is an education and exercise program developed by researchers in Denmark for people with hip or knee osteoarthritis symptoms. This program has been widely adopted internationally and is being delivered in NZ.

Research from the GLA:D® program in Australia shows an average pain reduction of 36%, reduced analgesic consumption, reduction in perceived need for surgery, and clinically meaningful improvement in joint confidence.

GLA:D® education and exercises provided can be applied to everyday activities, ensuring participants develop skills to self-manage their osteoarthritis. By strengthening and improving confidence with exercise, participants develop better capacity to become or stay active, prevent symptom progression and reduce pain.

Link Health and Fitness is a GLA:D® provider. If you wish to learn more about the GLA:D® program visit our osteoarthritis program web page by clicking HERE.

Some Of The Conditions We Treat

Sport Injury Rehab

Vetigo and BPPV

Neck Pain

Shoulder and Rotator Cuff Related Pain

ACL Tears

Low Back Pain

Ankle Sprains

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