Physiatrists are frequently confronted by the failure of patients to follow medical advice, with resultant adverse effects on rehabilitation outcomes. This paper examines the compliance of arthritis patients with an exercise regimen. A number of factors are examined in this study in assessing elements related to patient compliance. Included are patient attributes and perceptions, professional home visits and form of instruction in the regimen and selected features of the patient's social environment. Age, activity status and marital status, use of medications, patient understanding of arthritis and professional home visits appear to have a bearing upon patient compliance. Careful attention to factors likely to influence patient compliance will prove helpful in efforts designed to enhance rehabilitative progress and, ultimately, improve the lives of patients.