Arthritis Help for Veterans

Veterans can learn effective, drug-free ways to ease arthritis pain and improve their quality of life with physical activity programs and self-management education workshops.

Over one in three veterans (or 35.2%) have arthritis, making it a common condition among those who served in the US military. This is higher than the US population as a whole, where 1 in 5 US adults (or 21.2%) have arthritis. Traumatic and overuse injuries, occurring before or during active duty, can increase risk of arthritis among veterans.1

Similar to the US population as a whole, arthritis prevalence among veterans is higher among women, higher among adults with excess weight, and increases with age.2

Early diagnosis and treatment of arthritis among veterans is important to prevent arthritis-related activity limitations, pain, and disability.2 Fortunately, there are low-cost or free physical activity programs and educational workshops that can help veterans with arthritis feel better.

Visit MMWR: Arthritis Prevalence Among Veterans — United States, 2017–2021 to learn more about the prevalence of arthritis among U.S. veterans.

Lifestyle Management Programs

There are several proven programs to help veterans and other adults with arthritis be healthier and live with less pain. Some of these programs offer at-home and self-directed options in addition to their regularly scheduled in-person classes.

Veterans can:

  • Participate in physical activity classes that can teach them how to safely begin and maintain a physically active lifestyle to reduce arthritis pain and disability.
  • Join self-management education workshops that teach adults with arthritis and other chronic conditions how to control their symptoms and to develop more confidence in managing health problems that affect their lives. Classes are often led by people who have experience living with arthritis or other chronic conditions.

Visit Physical Activity for Arthritis to learn more about the benefits of physical activity for arthritis.

Military mom greeting her family.

There are a variety of resources for veterans with arthritis to help them live healthier and happier lives.


  1. Fallon EA, Boring MA, Foster AL, Stowe EW, Lites TD, Odom EL, Seth, P. Prevalence of Diagnosed Arthritis — United States, 2019–2021. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2023;72:1101–1107. DOI: PMID: 37824422
  2. Fallon EA, Boring MA, Foster AL, Stowe EW, Lites TD, Allen KD. Arthritis Prevalence Among Veterans — United States, 2017–2021. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2023;72:1209–1216. DOI: