Arthritis is commonly known as painful inflammation and stiffness of the joints, but the fact that arthritis is so common among Montanans is quite a surprise. Program Manager for Montana Arthritis Program Heather Welch explains.

“Here in Montana, about one in four Montanans have been diagnosed with arthritis,” said Welch. “That is about 215,000 adults and about one in three adults with arthritis report that they do not engage in physical activity. We do have exercise and self-management programs throughout the state to help people with arthritis and other chronic conditions they may have.”

Welch says many people are under the assumption that arthritis only affects those who are older, but that is not the case.

“I think people forget it is not just older folks that get arthritis, but there are still working age adults that do have arthritis,” Welch said. “Some people will notice some pain and joint stiffness, but really what we recommend is going to see your doctor if you do think you have arthritis. There are over 100 different types of arthritis.”

According to Welch, Montana is an aging population and there is a higher prevalence of arthritis in rural areas due to occupation.  Exercise and self-management programs in Montana for arthritis can be found right here.