There are more than 100 types of arthritis, which is a disease that affects many individuals of varying ages. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. In both cases, the cartilage that covers the ends of the bones breaks down. In some cases, the joint becomes deformed and can no longer function normally. Arthritis can affect patients in all areas of their lives.

Good Shepherd specializes in evaluating and treating the following effects of arthritis:

  • Joint pain and inflammation
  • Loss of movement
  • Loss of function
  • Reduced strength
  • Abnormal gait (walking) and stair climbing
  • Other functional limitations


Physical and/or occupational therapy for arthritis varies depending on the severity and location of the symptoms. Good Shepherd’s highly trained therapists work with you to develop a customized treatment plan that includes managing your symptoms, understanding joint conservation techniques, restoring movement and strength and developing an appropriate exercise program.

Patients with more advanced arthritis may need bracing to control or prevent further damage and/or deformity.

Aquatic Exercise Benefits for Arthritis

Aquatic therapy is a highly effective component of physical therapy. Exercising in an aquatic environment helps you stay mobile by reducing stress on the joints.  At Good Shepherd, therapy in the warm water pool offers the following benefits:

  • Increases circulation and warms tissues
  • Reduces weight or pressure through the spine and joints due to the buoyancy of the water
  • Helps to reduce swelling in the lower legs due to hydrostatic pressure
  • Either increases or decreases motion resistance, depending on the direction of the exercise in the water. Specially designed water exercise devices also can be used for this purpose.
  • Allows legs to be suspended and exercised in the deep water, reducing the force on the joints. Muscles become stronger without the harmful effect of gravity and weight.

Aquatic services are available through the physical therapy program and also as a self-pay fitness individual and/or group program.

For more information on Good Shepherd’s arthritis rehabilitation services, contact us or call 1-888-44-REHAB (73422).