In the U.S., at least 20% of the population suffers from pain related to arthritis. There are several forms of arthritis:

  • osteoarthritis- the most common form of arthritis and is a degenerative process, seen most commonly in the knee, hip, thumb, back and shoulder
  • rheumatoid arthritis- an auto-immune reactions trigger joint pain, most commonly seen in the extremities
  • gout- a very painful form of arthritis affecting the toes
  • psoriatic arthritis- arthritis affecting people who have psoriasis

Symptoms of arthritis include joint pain, swelling, loss of range of motion and joint crepitus and cracking. PT and OT can help treat the symptoms of arthritis through various techniques. Stretching tight muscles and joints will improve stiffness and ROM. Strengthening will improve stability of the joint and the areas surrounding it. Manual therapy may include joint mobilizations, soft tissue massage, or manual stretching. Therapists provide education to patients regarding strategies to manage symptoms, which will include a home exercise program, activity modification and possibly nutritional recommendations.