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 54 million men and women.
  • As the US population ages and obesity increases, the number of adults with arthritis is expected to increase to 78 million by 2040.
  • One-third of adults living in rural areas have arthritis. Over 1 in 2 adults with arthritis in rural areas are limited by it.
  • Arthritis is a leading cause of disability in the United States. Twenty-four 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 1 in 2 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 wearing fitness shirt

Fitness Programs

The EnhanceFitness and Walk with Ease programs can help people with arthritis increase their physical activity safely and comfortably.

Prevention Tips

  • Early diagnosis and appropriate management of arthritis, including self-management activities, can help people with the condition live well without pain.
  • 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.
  • There are proven exercise programs that can help people with arthritis increase their physical activity safely and comfortably.
  • 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.

More at

Page last reviewed: April 12, 2019