Couple stretching

Arthritis includes more than 100 different conditions that affect joints and the surrounding tissue. The most common form of arthritis in the United States is osteoarthritis, followed by gout and rheumatoid arthritis. Symptoms include pain, aching, stiffness, and swelling in or around the joints. Arthritis affects people of all ages, including children. Although the risk of developing arthritis increases with age, more than half of adults with arthritis are younger than 65. About 1 in 4 US adults has arthritis.


Key Facts

  • Arthritis affects about 1 in 4 adults in the United States. That’s 58.5 million men and women.
  • As the US population ages and obesity increases, the number of adults with arthritis is expected to increase to 78.4 million by 2040.
  • One-third of adults living in rural areas have arthritis. Over half adults with arthritis in rural areas are limited by it.
  • Arthritis is a leading cause of disability in the United States. Nearly 26 million adults report limitations due to arthritis.
  • The most common form of arthritis in the Unites States is osteoarthritis.
  • People with arthritis can manage symptoms and reduce pain by learning self-management strategies and being physically active.


Older woman on bicycle, smiling

Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, is the most common form of arthritis. Nearly half people may develop symptomatic knee osteoarthritis by age 85.

Man running
Physical Activity

Physical activity decreases arthritis pain, improves people’s ability to do their usual activities, and delays disability. CDC recommends that people with arthritis be moderately physically active for 150 minutes per week.

Women walking
Reduce Arthritis Pain

Proven self-management education and physical activity interventions are effective, non-drug ways to reduce arthritis pain and improve health.

Man walking
Lifestyle Management Programs

Physical activity lifestyle management programs, like the EnhanceFitness and Walk with Ease programs, can help people with arthritis increase their physical activity safely and comfortably.

Prevention/Management Tips

  • Join a self-management education workshop, which can help you learn the skills to manage your arthritis and make good decisions about your health. Learn about CDC-recognized self-management education programs that improve the quality of life of people with arthritis.
  • Get an early and accurate diagnosis by talking to your doctor if you have joint pain and other arthritis symptoms. It’s important to get an accurate diagnosis as soon as possible so you can start treatment and work to minimize symptoms and prevent the disease from getting worse.
  • Take steps to minimize or prevent injuries to joints, such as wearing protective equipment and avoiding repetitive motion joint damage, to reduce the likelihood of developing or worsening osteoarthritis.
  • Everyone should exercise regularly to stay healthy, including people with arthritis. Physical activity has been proven to reduce arthritis pain and restore function. Learn more about physical activity and arthritis.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight has been shown to decrease the risk of developing osteoarthritis and gout and may decrease disease progression and arthritis-related activity limitations.