World Arthritis Day launch: The Impact of COVID-19 - Arthritis Action

World Arthritis Day launch: The Impact of COVID-19

12 October 2020

Arthritis Action is commemorating World Arthritis Day (12 October) by publishing findings of a new survey, looking at the effects of COVID-19 and lockdown on the daily lives of people with arthritis.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, 42% of people living with arthritis reported that their pain has increased[1] according to the survey. Considering there are over 10 million people living with some form of arthritis in the UK[i] this would equate to over 4 million people experiencing increased arthritis pain during the ongoing pandemic.

Of the 147 survey participants, 85% reported increased feelings of loneliness during the pandemic, due to socialising less, whilst over half (54%) revealed that they found it more difficult to access their healthcare facilities or GP practice, and over a quarter (26%) have relied on more pain medication than before due to their increased pain.

Other findings from the research include:

  • 46% of respondents reported their joints being more stiff now than before the lockdown
  • 2 in 5 admitted to not exercising enough
  • 1 in 3 found it harder to complete everyday tasks during the pandemic
  • 37% struggled more with managing their weight than before the pandemic
  • 36% said COVID-19 had negatively affected their sleep
  • 97% of respondents who used Arthritis Action’s online resources to manage their painful arthritis symptoms found them useful

At the beginning of lockdown, Arthritis Action moved its free face-to-face local Groups online, to offer people with arthritis much-needed peer support from the comfort of their home. 

Shantel Irwin, CEO of Arthritis Action, said:

COVID-19 has had a severe impact on the lives of people with arthritis. They are feeling despondent about the medical help and personal support available to them during this time, which is affecting their ability to take control of their condition. It’s time for a step change in the way we view and treat arthritis. We want to see the healthcare community and charities working together to support more people to self-manage their condition.”

[1] Arthritis Action’s COVID-19 and Arthritis Survey Results (2020).




You can read the survey findings here (opens pdf).


World Arthritis Day activities

Arthritis Action will be running a week-long campaign on social channels to raise awareness of arthritis and highlight the impact covid-19 has had on people living with long-term pain conditions, like arthritis. You can follow us on our channels:


During this week, we are also supporting the Arthritis & Musculoskeletal Alliance (ARMA)  in their annual Bone and Joint Week campaign, 12-20 October, to help get people thinking about musculoskeletal health, and policy matters. More details about the campaign, here.

Finally, don’t miss Arthritis Action’s involvement with the Talk Health Partnership in bringing you the arthritis online clinic (5-16 October). Our experts are answering public-submitted health questions alongside a panel of health professionals, about living with the condition.