A total of 110 community-living elderly persons with chronic hip and/or knee pain, all of whom met American College of Rheumatology classification criteria for osteoarthritis (OA), were interviewed to obtain information about their performance of therapeutic joint exercises and exercise-related medical care. Although exercises are considered standard treatment for OA and 96% of subjects had seen a physician for the problem, fewer than half had received medical advice to exercise and very few had received thorough exercise-related teaching and monitoring. Arthritis specialists provided significantly more support for exercising than primary care physicians. Forty percent of the total sample and 63% of those advised by a physician to exercise were making some attempt to do so; however, only 10% were exercising in a manner that might be expected to achieve maximum therapeutic benefit. Supportive medical care was highly related to frequency of exercising.