We are using cookies to give you the best experience on our site. Cookies are files stored in your browser and are used by most websites to help personalise your web experience.

By continuing to use our website without changing the settings, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more

What is occupational therapy?

Occupational therapy aims to help people who have difficulty with their everyday work, home or leisure activities because of illness or disability. Some occupational therapists (OTs) have specialist knowledge in dealing with problems caused by arthritis and related conditions, and they’ll work with you to find solutions to these difficulties, allowing you to carry on independently with your daily activities.

Occupational therapy can help you manage your arthritis in a number of ways:

  • advice on using your joints without straining them
  • splints to support your joints while working or resting
  • recommendations on gadgets and equipment to help you with tasks at home and work
  • exercises to improve hand and wrist movements and grip
  • advice on planning and balancing daily activities with rest to reduce tiredness (fatigue)
  • help and advice on driving and mobility problems
  • relaxation techniques
  • help and advice on coping physically and emotionally with the changes your condition may bring.

Occupational therapists may work within the NHS, Social Services departments, charities or in private practice. Your GP, consultant or specialist nurse may refer you to an occupational therapist, or you can ask to see someone if you feel it would be helpful. In some cases, you may be referred to a specialist hand therapist who’ll be able to offer similar help and advice.

If you’re having trouble managing at home, you can ask Social Services to put you in touch with an occupational therapist. They’ll probably see you in your own home.


0800 5200 520

Our new helpline: Call us for free information, help and advice on your type of arthritis. Open Mon–Fri 9am–8pm.

All calls are recorded for training and quality purposes

Virtual Assistant

Our new Arthritis Virtual Assistant uses artificial intelligence to answer your arthritis related questions 24/7.

Ask a question
For more information, go to
Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.