Joint protection (JP) is a self-management technique widely taught to people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). JP education aims to enable people with RA to reduce pain, inflammation, joint stress and reduce risks of deformity through using assistive devices and alternative movement patterns of affected joints to perform everyday activities. Previous studies evaluating JP education methods common in the UK have identified JP adherence is poor. A group education programme was developed using the Health Belief Model and Self-efficacy Theory. Strategies used to maximise JP adherence included goal-setting, contracting, modelling, homework programmes, motor learning theory, recall enhancing methods and mental practice. A crossover trial (n = 35) was conducted. Adherence with JP was measured using an objective observational test (the Joint Protection Behaviour Assessment). Significant improvements in use of JP were recorded at 12 and 24 weeks post-education (P < 0.01). No significant changes in measures of pain, functional disability, grip strength, self-efficacy or helplessness occurred post-education, although this may have been due to the small sample size recruited. In conclusion, JP adherence can be facilitated through the use of educational-behavioural strategies, suggesting this approach should be more widely adopted in clinical practice.