Background Acupuncture has been widely applied to relieve knee osteoarthritis (KOA) in many countries. However, the bibliometric analysis of the global use of acupuncture on KOA is largely unknown. Therefore, this study aimed to explore the current status and trends of the global use of acupuncture on KOA in recent 10 years by using CiteSpace (5.6.R3). Methods Publications regarding acupuncture therapy for treating KOA between 2010 and 2019 were extracted from the Web of Science database. CiteSpace was used to analyze the number of publications, countries, institutions, journals, authors, cited references and keywords by using standard bibliometric indicators. Results A total of 343 publications were retrieved from 2010 to 2019. The total number of publications continually increased over the past four years, and the most active journals, countries, institutions and authors in the field of acupuncture therapy on patients with KOA were identified. The Evid Based Complement Alternat Med (28) was the most prolific journal, and the Ann Intern Med (202) was the most cited journal. The most productive country and institution in this field was China (115) and University of York (18), respectively. Hugh Macpherson (18) was the most prolific author and Witt C ranked the first in the cited authors. In the ranking of frequency in cited reference, the first article was published by Scharf HP (54). The keyword of ‘randomized controlled trial’ ranked first for research developments with the highest citation burst (3.9486). Besides, there were three main frontiers in keywords for KOA research, including ‘research method, ‘age’ and ‘measure of intervention’. Conclusion The findings from this bibliometric study provide current status and trends in clinical research of acupuncture therapy on patients with KOA over the past ten years, which may help researchers identify hot topics and explore new directions for future research in this field.