Physiotherapy vs Injection for Knee Osteoarthritis

by Toronto Health | Posted: August 13, 2020

Arthritis is inflammation of one or more of your joints. Pain, swelling and stiffness are the primary symptoms of arthritis. Knee arthritis can make it hard to do many everyday activities including walking, climbing stairs and getting out of the car.

Both Physiotherapy and intra-articular glucocorticoid injections have been recommended and used in the management of knee osteoarthritis. However, the difference between both short and long-term benefits between these two interventions remained unclear.

One recent study compared the effectiveness of glucocorticoid injections and Physiotherapy in over 156 people with knee osteoarthritis and found superior results for Physiotherapy at a 1-year follow-up. Patients in the study reported significant results for improving pain and functional disability. Exercise has consistently been shown to be beneficial for improving physical function and pain in patients with knee osteoarthritis and provides a wide range of additional physical and mental health benefits.

Physiotherapy Interventions for knee OA include:

  • Patient education
  • Exercise therapy
  • Activity modification
  • Advice on weight loss
  • Knee bracing


Deyle G, Allen C, Allison S, Gill N, Hando B, Petersen E, Dusenberry D and Rhon D (2020) Physical therapy versus glucocorticoid injection for osteoarthritis of the knee. New England Journal of Medicine, 382(15), 1420-1429.

Fransen, M., McConnell, S., Harmer, A.R., Van der Esch, M., Simic, M. and Bennell, K.L., 2015. Exercise for osteoarthritis of the knee: a Cochrane systematic review. British journal of sports medicine, 49(24), pp.1554-1557.

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