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Guidelines for management of Hip and Knee Osteoarthritis

Updated: Jan 22

This short blog introduces a novel infographic for use by physiotherapists who treat hip and knee osteoarthritis.

The Art of translating knowledge in health care

The literature that we have available to us these days is an almost unmanageable beast. Trying to condense it into a digestible format can be a challenge. When it comes to recommendations for hip and knee OA, you've got a new tool available to you here (free download below).

Guidelines for hip and knee OA management

This guideline is very useful for physiotherapists providing primary care rehab for hip and knee OA patients. The infographic is designed as a wheel with 8 sections. Each section describes a research-based recommendation for non-surgical, non-pharmacological management of OA.

The recommendations come from 3 large-scale papers, each of which independently reviewed a massive amount of literature on the subject*. Each guideline comes up with slightly different recommendations. The Physiotherapy Guild infographic compiles the 8 key recommendations that are agreed upon by 2 or more of the guidelines. It looks like this (click the image for a free download)

Infographic for hip and knee osteoarthritis management
Infographic for hip and knee osteoarthritis management

This graphic is meant to be printed off and provided to the patient for educational purposes. You'll see that the recommendations are grouped into 3 categories. Some patients need to focus on immediate pain relief strategies. There are 3 listed, and if they are using any of them already, they would check the box in the centre of the wheel. Any others that you recommend can be circled or highlighted for them.

Some patients need to reduce the load on their painful joint, and there are 2 recommendations addressing that. It would be in your judgement whether to recommend, for example, a gait aide based on your assessment. Or, for example, if obesity is not a problem, show the patient that by crossing out the "weight reduction" section.

One of the 3 strategies to improve the health of their joints in the long run is to understand their condition better, and learn to self manage it. And that is precisely the purpose of this form.

Sharing this graphic with your patient can serve as a powerful legitimizer. It can lend credibility to your role as an evidence-informed, trusted health professional. It can help your patient understand and trust your recommendations, and can improve adherence to the plan you create with them.

We encourage you to click and download a copy of this infographic for use in your practice.


  • Cibulka MT, White DM, Woehrle J, Harris-Hayes M, Enseki K, Fagerson TL, Slover J, Godges JJ. Hip pain and mobility deficits--hip osteoarthritis: clinical practice guidelines linked to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health from the Orthopaedic Section of the American Physical Therapy Association. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2009 Apr;39(4):A1-25.

  • Osteoarthritis and Cartilage (2008) 16, 137e162 a 2008 Osteoarthritis Research Society International. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.joca.2007.12.013

  • Guideline for the non-surgical management of hip and knee osteoarthritis. Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. July 2009.

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