Background Optimal management of osteoarthritis requires active patient participation. Understanding patients’ perceived health information needs is important in order to optimize health service delivery and health outcomes in osteoarthritis. We aimed to review the existing literature regarding patients’ perceived health information needs for OA. Methods A systematic scoping review was performed of publications in MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL and PsycINFO (1990–2016). Descriptive data regarding study design and methodology were extracted and risk of bias assessed. Aggregates of patients’ perceived needs of osteoarthritis health information were categorized. Results 30 studies from 2876 were included: 16 qualitative, 11 quantitative and 3 mixed-methods studies. Three areas of perceived need emerged: (1) Need for clear communication: terms used were misunderstood or had unintended connotations. Patients wanted clear explanations. (2) Need for information from various sources: patients wanted accessible health professionals with specialist knowledge of arthritis. The Internet, whilst a source of information, was acknowledged to have dubious reliability. Print media, television, support groups, family and friends were utilised to fulfil diverse information needs. (3) Needs of information content: patients desired more information about diagnosis, prognosis, management and prevention. Conclusions Patients desire more information regarding the diagnosis of osteoarthritis, its impact on daily life and its long-term prognosis. They want more information not only about pharmacological management options, but also non-pharmacological options to help them manage their symptoms. Also, patients wanted this information to be delivered in a clear manner from multiple sources of health information. To address these gaps, more effective communication strategies are required. The use of a variety of sources and modes of delivery may enable the provision of complementary material to provide information more successfully, resulting in better patient adherence to guidelines and improved health outcomes.