Activity Modification

Observation or no active treatment Wellbeing


What is it and why?

  • Avoiding impact orientated activities that can increase stress going through the joint.

  • Find alternatives, such as swimming, or take steps to reduce the impact your current activities are likely to have.

  • Treatment involves Home/self-help
  • Treatment does not involve Hospital
  • Treatment does not involve Daycase procedure
    Daycase procedure
  • Treatment does not involve Inpatient procedure
    Inpatient procedure
  • Treatment does not involve Local anaesthetic
    Local anaesthetic
  • Treatment does not involve General anaesthetic
    General anaesthetic
  • Treatment does not involve Regional block / Spina
    Regional block / Spina
  • Pain

    No more than usual

  • Mobility

    No more than usual

  • Daily activities
    Daily activities

    No more than usual

  • Driving

    No more than usual

  • Leisure activities
    Leisure activities


  • Light exercise
    Light exercise


  • Heavy exercise
    Heavy exercise

    Will require modification

  • Light work
    Light work

    No more than usual

  • Heavy work
    Heavy work

    Will require modification

  • Intimate

    No more than usual


What does it involve?

  • Stopping repetitive impact orientated activities - like intensive running or step aerobics.

  • Breaking activities into several smaller sessions and spreading them throughout the day.

  • Using appropriate footwear; flat shoes, cushioned insoles etc.

  • Maintaining an activity diary, including pain scores, to understand which activities affect you most.


  • Consistent adherence to the plan; maintaining a diary and changing your activities requires commitment.

  • May require the purchase of new footwear. A degree of trial and error may be required to find the type that suits you.


  • Many arthritic patients report a decrease in the intensity of pain after modifying their activities.

  • Moderate drop in pain, improvement in activities of daily living (ADL) and mobility in the long term.

Chances of cure

  • Modifying activities is unlikely to cure arthritis on its own.

  • However, it can improve the symptoms of arthritis and may slow down its progress.

Limitations and side effects

  • Difficult to achieve improvement in a short period of time.

  • Minimal side effects reported.


  • No major risks identified.

  • Pain may increase in the initial stages and some people may notice an increase in swelling.

  • Some may also have problems in adapting to new footwear.


  • Low cost option for both the patient and the NHS.

  • May be some personal costs (e.g. footwear, exercise clothing and equipment)

What if no treatment is done?

  • Arthritis will continue to deteriorate.

  • Symptoms will get worse; sometimes rapidly.

  • Will have a negative influence on other management options, e.g. surgery, in the future.

Observation or no active treatment Wellbeing