Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Physiotherapy management of lower limb osteoarthritis

Healey, Emma L.; Walsh, Nicola; Pearson, Jennifer


Emma L. Healey

Profile Image

Nicola Walsh
Professor in Knowledge Mobilisation & Muscul

Jen Pearson
Senior Lecturer in Physiotherapy (MSK and LTC)


© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press. Background Osteoarthritis (OA) of the lower limb affects millions of people worldwide, and results in pain and reduced function. We reviewed guidelines and Cochrane reviews for physical therapy interventions to manage the condition. Sources of data Evidence from meta-analyses and systematic reviews was included. We also identified the recommendations from guidelines relevant to practice in the UK. Areas of agreement There is strongest evidence to support the use of exercise to improve pain, function and quality of life. Areas of controversy There is limited evidence to support the use of some commonly utilized physiotherapy interventions. National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence do not recommend the use of acupuncture. Growing points Programmes that include single exercise type may be more beneficial than combined strengthening and aerobic interventions. Areas timely for developing research Further research is required to determine how to facilitate long-term engagement with exercise to sustain the beneficial effects on pain, function and quality of life. Studies that investigate packages of care, combining interventions require further investigation.


Healey, E. L., Walsh, N. E., Walsh, N., Pearson, J., & Healey, E. (2017). Physiotherapy management of lower limb osteoarthritis. British Medical Bulletin, 122(1), 151-161.

Journal Article Type Review
Acceptance Date Apr 10, 2017
Publication Date Jun 1, 2017
Journal British Medical Bulletin
Print ISSN 0007-1420
Electronic ISSN 1471-8391
Publisher Oxford University Press (OUP)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 122
Issue 1
Pages 151-161
Keywords osteoarthritis, physiotherapy, evidence
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in British Medical Bulletin following peer review. The version of record Walsh, N. E., Pearson, J. and Healey, E. (2017) Physiotherapy management of lower limb osteoarthritis. British Medical Bulletin. ISSN 0007-1420 Available from: is available online at: