Disability and Arthritis


Did you know that arthritis is one of the leading causes of disability in the nation and in New York State? Arthritis and its symptoms, like pain, fatigue, and joint stiffness, are known to affect quality of life and productivity for the 3.6 million adults with the condition in the state.


Almost half of adults with arthritis report that they experience activity limitations because of their arthritis. These limitations can disrupt normal social activities, like shopping and spending time with family and friends.  Limitations also affect the type and amount of work adults with arthritis can do.  A national study published in Arthritis Care and Research found that adults with arthritis earn an average of $4,000 less per person compared to those without arthritis, while their medical costs were higher[i].


In addition to being a major cause of disability, arthritis is also more common among adults that have a disability.  In fact, adults with disability are more than three times as likely (50.5%) to have arthritis than adults without disability (16.4%)[ii].


The good news is that evidence-based approaches, like physical activity, can help relieve arthritis symptoms, help keep them in check, and improve the lives of adults with arthritis and disability.

  •  Moderate physical activity, such as rolling, walking, and biking, can reduce arthritis pain and stiffness and boost mood.
  • Evidence-based programs, like EnhanceFitness, are proven, safe ways to get active.  Programs are often led by Certified Inclusive Fitness Trainers and can be adapted to all abilities, making them accessible and inclusive for adults with disability.


Unfortunately, adults with arthritis and adults with disability don’t always get enough physical activity.  


Check out the New York State Department of Health’s website for more information on arthritis, disability, and interventions you can implement to help your constituents feel better and show arthritis who’s boss.


Please contact the New York State Arthritis Program at 518-408-5142 or EBSMP@health.ny.gov for more information.

[i] Murphy, L.B., Cisternas, M.G., Pasta, D.J., Helmick, C.G., & Yelin, E.H. (2017). Medical expenditures and earnings losses among US adults with arthritis in 2013. Retrieved October 13, 2017 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28950426.

[ii] New York State Department of Health. 2016 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.





New York State Department of Health, Disability & Health - https://www.health.ny.gov/community/disability/

Filed Under: Health | Healthy Lifestyle