Senior patient with arthritis holding hands with a Brooks staff member


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 24% of all adults, or 58.5 million people in the United States have arthritis affecting their ability to work. Arthritis can affect any person, and seeking treatment can remedy this condition, but you should also consider rehabilitation services to recover well.

What is arthritis?

Arthritis is a common medical condition that affects your joints – the areas where your bones meet and move. Arthritis frequently causes joint inflammation or degeneration. The inflammation can cause pain, making it difficult to move or remain active. Arthritis affects your feet, hands, lower back, knees, and hips.

What are the types of arthritis?

Arthritis is a broad term that refers to various joint conditions. Some of the most prevalent types of arthritis include:


It is the most prevalent form of arthritis. It is a chronic joint condition that mainly affects the weight-bearing joints of the hip, knees, and spine. It affects most people as they age and can also affect young people due to an injury.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

This is an autoimmune and inflammatory condition in which your immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in your body, causing painful swelling in the affected areas. RA often affects multiple joints at once, leading to chronic pain and loss of balance.

Juvenile arthritis

This type of arthritis affects children and causes joint stiffness and inflammation. Children often outgrow this condition. However, it can affect bone formation in a developing child.

Ankylosing spondylitis

This condition causes the bones of the spine (vertebrae) to fuse. Inflammation can also occur in other regions of the body such as shoulders, hips, ribs, and the tiny joints of the hands and feet.


This arthritis condition leads to the accumulation of uric acid crystals in tiny joints, such as the big toe. It causes inflammation and pain.

Psoriatic arthritis

It is characterized by joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation. The pain can range from moderate to severe and affect any part of the body, including the fingertips and spine.

What causes arthritis?

There are various causes of arthritis. However, the actual cause of some kinds of arthritis remains uncertain. You may develop arthritis if you have a family history of arthritis, play a sport or work in a way that stresses your joints, or have certain autoimmune conditions.

What are the symptoms of arthritis?

The different types of arthritis have various symptoms. However, joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation are the most prevalent symptoms of arthritis. Other common symptoms include; popping or clicking with bending, muscle weakness around the joint, instability, and fatigue.

How is arthritis diagnosed?

The first step in diagnosing arthritis is a physical examination of the joints – often performed by a family doctor. You can also schedule an appointment with a rheumatologist if your symptoms are severe. This could result in a quicker diagnosis and treatment. Imaging tests such as X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans are physicians’ standard diagnostic procedures for diagnosing arthritis.

How is arthritis treated?

The main goal of arthritis treatment is to minimize joint damage, control pain, and sustain or improve physical function and quality of life. Arthritis can be treated with medicine, non-drug interventions such as physical therapy or lifestyle changes, and occasionally surgery.

Benefits of Physical and Occupational Therapy

Physical therapy (PT) and occupational therapy (OT) are standard treatment options for different types of arthritis. Physical therapy for arthritis consists of exercises that strengthen the muscles surrounding the joints, restore mobility, reduce joint stress, and ease the pain.

Occupational therapy can help you learn how to reduce joint stress while performing daily tasks. Occupational therapists can teach you how to adjust your home and workplace to minimize movements that may exacerbate arthritis.

There are many benefits of undergoing a physical and occupational therapy program if you have arthritis, including:

Increased Joint Range of Motion

Physical therapy can increase your capacity to flex and extend a joint. Even little increases in a joint’s range of motion can substantially affect joint function and make you comfortable.

Improved balance

Physical therapists may include balance components in your therapy plans, such as variations in terrain or surface, walking distance, and elevation, to simulate everyday functional duties to enhance balance and lower your chances of falling.

Strengthened muscles

Physical therapy assists arthritis patients in exercising safely, thereby strengthening muscles and joints. This prevents pain associated with a sedentary lifestyle, increases general strength, and enhances mobility.

Adjusted posture

Good posture can alleviate stress on arthritic joints. Your physical therapist can educate you on changing your sitting, standing, and walking posture to reduce joint stress.

What does a PT session for arthritis look like?

When you arrive for your first PT session, a physical therapist will evaluate your condition. The discussions will be based on the specifics of your injury, how you move and taking baseline measurements.

Next, the therapist will conduct a physical evaluation and analyze your movements. The therapist will develop a plan based on these evaluations. Outpatient PT sessions can sometimes be conducted more frequently to incorporate various exercises to help you reach your goals more quickly.
The key to long-term success is learning the exercises from a physical therapist and practicing them at home. Since progress is gradual, your body becomes stronger and more flexible over time.

Are there assisted devices for arthritis patients?

Depending on the severity of the condition, walkers, grab bars, canes, crutches, splints, and shoe inserts can alleviate pressure on various arthritic joints. Knowing when and how to utilize these aids helps reduce the chance of harm or future damage. A physical therapist is a great source for guidance on when and how to use assisted devices.

What is the outlook for arthritis patients?

Since there is no cure for arthritis, most patients must manage their condition for the remainder of their lives. Your healthcare professional can assist you to determine the most effective mix of treatments to alleviate symptoms.

One of the most significant health risks associated with arthritis is inactivity. It may be helpful to routinely visit a rehabilitation center, where you can get more intensive assistance and focused treatment.

Where can I get arthritis treatment?

At Brooks Rehabilitation, our specialized nurses, physicians, and therapists are here to offer arthritis rehabilitation services such as occupational therapy and physical therapy in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Our personalized care settings for each phase of treatment will allow you to remain with your Brooks Rehabilitation team throughout your recovery journey.

Contact us to make an appointment and to learn more about the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for arthritis.

Translate »