Care & Treatment

Physical Activity

Regular physical activity is a critical part of arthritis treatment. Activity can reduce pain and improved a person’s ability to move. Physical activity may lead to weight loss, which can reduce osteoarthritis pain. Among the activities that may help are:

  • Physical therapy can help people with osteoarthritis have less pain and disability.
  • Occupational therapy can help people carry out daily activities with less pain and more mobility
  • The following activities can help people with osteoarthritis:
    • Tai Chi (a form of meditative movement that began in Asia)
    • Yoga (a practice that involves meditation and poses that can strength joints)
    • Balance training
    • Walking
  • Braces for knees and hands

Medications Treatment


If exercise and medications don’t control arthritis symptoms well, surgery may be a choice. Surgeries can:

  • Clear debris out of the joint (arthroscopy)
  • Reposition the bones
  • Smooth out the surfaces of the affected joints
  • Replace severely damaged joints

People with rheumatoid arthritis may need surgery to help regain use of a damaged joint. These surgeries include:

  • Joint fusion, for stabilizing the joint and reducing pain
  • Tendon repair, if the disease has severely damaged tendons in the joint
  • Removal of the lining of the joint

Rehabilitation may be needed after surgery. This may mean that the person has to move into a special short-term home (for example a skilled nursing home). Here the person can learn to care for themselves before they return to their own home.


A healthcare provider will work with the person who has arthritis to figure out how often they need monitoring. This is very important for people with rheumatoid arthritis and any older adult using medications. These medications can have serious side effects.


Last Updated April 2023

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