For those diagnosed with arthritis, physical therapy can help relieve your joint pain and slow down the progression of joint deterioration. Here are some reasons those with Rheumatoid Arthritis or Osteoarthritis should seek physical therapy:

Maintain or increase the range of motion you have in your joints.

A lot of the time, I have patients who complain of joint stiffness, especially first thing in the morning or after prolonged positioning. Working with a PT can help you increase your range of motion enough to make a significant improvement in joint function. Getting in and out of a low car can be made more comfortable with a few extra degrees of motion.

Improve your balance

Many times those who have arthritis have impaired balance due to decreased joint function, reduced muscle strength, and decreased overall mobility. Working with a PT can help to improve your safety on uneven surfaces/terrain and while performing your daily activities.

Strengthen your muscles around the arthritic joints.

By building up the muscles up around the arthritic joints, it can take some of the stress off of the painful joint and decrease the amount of friction that can wear away at the joint cartilage. Working with a PT can help you to identify areas that could benefit from functional strengthening.

Review your body’s posture.

Slouching and poor posture throughout your day can place increased stress on arthritic joints. A PT can evaluate your posture and work with you to correct your posture to put less strain on your joints. Along with that, a PT can evaluate your need for splints, assistive devices like walking sticks, walkers, and other assistive tools to help keep you independent and moving with decrease symptoms of pain and stiffness associated with arthritis.

Studies show PT helps decrease the symptoms of pain and stiffness, along with slow down the progression of the degeneration of the joints. Working with a PT can minimize the wear and tear on your joints that occur from daily living activities and keep you moving for many years longer.

Physical Therapist at Freedom Physical Therapy Services
Molly Rittberg received her master’s degree in Physical Therapy in 2007 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and went on to receive her doctorate from Rosalind Franklin University (North Chicago) in 2009. She has since worked in an outpatient orthopedic practice where she worked with patients of all ages, injuries and disabilities. She has a wide variety of experiences including knee, ankle, foot and shoulder injuries, post-operative conditions, spinal rehabilitation and peripheral neuropathies.