The two most common arthritic disorders treated by physical therapy are osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative condition of the cartilage in your joints, typically in the weight bearing joints such as knees and hips. OA degeneration can be caused by age or heredity or it could be caused by an injury. It usually presents itself with pain and stiffness in the affected joint.
If caught soon enough, much pain and stiffness can be decreased with physical therapy. Treatments may include strengthening muscles around the affected joint, ROM exercises, and education on a home exercise program consisting of gentle but consistent motion.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is characterized by a systemic inflammation of the connective tissue around your joints. It is an autoimmune disease and can typically cause more damage to the joint than OA. Strength and pain relieving exercises are typically used for RA to manage flare-ups which are quite common with this condition.