Did You Know That These Celebrities Have Arthritis?

Here at Dr. Arthritis, we try very hard to bring together people who suffer from arthritis and chronic joint pain to let them know that they are not alone in this.

There are millions around the world who have to deal with the same pain; who live with the same challenges and limitations; and experience the same level of loneliness and isolation. Celebrities are no exception.

Despite the glamour and excitement of the lives they lead, some of these famed actors, actresses, athletes, and personalities still have to live with the same daily struggles that you do.

1. Kathleen Turner

Kathleen Turner, Golden Globe winner and star of films like “Body Heat”, “Crimes of Passion”, “Moonlight and Valentino”, and “The Virgin Suicides” was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) back in 1992.

Since then, she’s undergone 12 surgeries. Despite being told by her physicians that her body would eventually succumb to the disease and eventually land her on a wheel chair, the star was determined to prove them wrong. She turns to pilates twice a week to keep herself strong and active.


2. Camryn Manheim

Camryn Manheim, Emmy winning star of The Practice with film credits that include cult hits like Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion spent 8 months figuring out what was causing sharp, stabbing pains in her hands.

“When [my doctor] told me it was rheumatoid arthritis I said that’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard. I’m too young. Well, I learned I was mistaken,” she said—a sentiment shared by a lot of RA sufferers upon diagnosis.


3. Megan Park

Best known for her role as Grace in “The Secret Life of the American Teenager”, Megan Park actually tried to conceal the fact that she had RA for a decade.

“I had all the classic symptoms: extreme joint swelling, different pain, the inability to do certain things that everyone else could,” Park shared in an interview. “That’s when I knew that something wasn’t right.”

When she went public with her diagnosis, it was so others who live with RA would realize that they weren’t alone. “I think it’s opened my eyes to, everybody has a story, essentially. You may not know about it, but everybody has something.”


4. Shaquille O’Neal

NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in his big toe in the early 2000s.

His diagnosis caused him to miss the first 12 games during the 2002-2003 games due to surgery.


5. Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant was diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis on his knee. Apparently, the arthritic knee was already in such a dire state that it was already bone on bone. This meant that every step Bryant took was excruciating.

“I wondered how I was ever going to play basketball again,” he shared.


6. Neve Campbell

Star of “Party of Five”, “Scream”, and more recently in “Skyscraper” with The Rock, the now 40 year old actress has been pretty candid about her experience with chronic pain.

“Here, I’ll give you the list,” Neve Campbell shared in an interview. “I’ve had bunions. I’ve had broken toes. I’ve had fallen arches. I’ve had strained tendons in my arches. I’ve had tendinitis in my Achilles’. I’ve had torn ligaments and sprained ankles in both ankles. Shinsplints. Pulled calves. In my knees, I’ve had chondromalacia and tendinitis. I’ve had pulled hamstrings. I’ve had snapping-hip syndrome and arthritis in my hips. I’ve had sciatic problems in my back and the arthritis in my neck. Oh, and I sprained my wrists.

Her condition was caused largely due to the wear and tear caused by her dancing career and continues to speak publicly about the pain her arthritis causes.


7. Patrick Stewart

Patrick Stewart is a brilliant actor with an impressive filmography that includes Star Trek and X-Men. He’s also a vocal supporter of alternative medicine to treat and manage severe ortho-arthritis, which he has in both his hands.


8. Caitlyn Jenner

Caitlyn Jenner, the former Olympian and reality TV star recently spoke about her struggle with osteoarthritis. Since diagnosis, she experiences chronic knee pain and has had to modify her lifestyle.

“When you have osteoarthritis, you have constant pain- whether you’re walking up and down hills or running after your kids – [so] you always know it’s there […] On the other hand, I have had to give up doing certain things because it’s a degenerative disease. […] I do everything I can to make my life livable and put off a knee replacement as long as possible,” she shared.

Still, she advises others to simply not let the condition get them down. “Try to deal with it as best as you possibly can. If you loved tennis and the old elbow or shoulder is bothering you, and you’re devastated that you can’t continue playing because it’s just too tough, find another passion, go out there and look for another sport. Find something else to do.”

Putting on a brave face and getting through the day despite aching joints, sleepless nights, and intense fatigue is par for course for anyone who deals with arthritis. Celebrities sharing their experiences with chronic pain due to arthritis help underscore the fact that no matter how isolated you may feel, you are not alone.  And you can always try our knee supports or compression gloves to release your arthritis pain.

Dr. A Ievers

Medically reviewed by Dr. A Ievers. He is the Co-Founder of Doctor Arthritis. He graduated from The Imperial College London with an MBBS (MD) - The article was written by the Dr. Arthritis Editorial Team.