Being in the Army can be tough both physically and mentally. There will be times when you'll be in places in the world where it won't be easy to get hold of medication, so even illnesses that are well-controlled and don't affect your everyday life can mean that you're not able to join.

This is a quick guide to the main conditions that will stop you being able to join. You will be sent forms asking about your medical history once you've submitted your application. The medical team assess every application individually, and will make their decision based on their professional opinion.


Abdominal problems:

  • Chronic abdominal diseases like Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.
  • Kidney disorders such as polycystic kidney disease or kidney stones.
  • Donation of a kidney within the last two years.
  • Kidney disease within the last two years.

Back problems:

  • Spinal surgery (including internal fixation or fusion).
  • Recurrent lower back pain.
  • Spina bifida.

Blood diseases:

  • Sickle Cell disease.
  • Congenital spherocytosis.
  • Thalassaemia.
  • HIV seropositivity / AIDS.
  • Being a carrier of hepatitis B or hepatitis C.
  • Past history of leukaemia or malignant lymphoma.  Must be disease, treatment and review free for five years.

Bone or joint problems:

  • Meniscectomy (knee cartilage operation) within the last year.
  • Lower limb fractures with internal fixation (metalwork) within the last year.
  • Loss of a limb.
  • Complete loss of a thumb or big toe.
  • Clubfoot (including past surgery).
  • Chronic joint diseases such as ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or gout.
  • Reiter's disease within the last five years.
  • Osteochondritis dissecans.

Chest disorders:

  • Asthma, strong asthma-like symptoms or treatment for related illnesses within the last four years.
  • Chronic lung diseases such as emphysema, bronchiectasis or cystic fibrosis.
  • Active tuberculosis.

Ear disorders:

  • Current perforation of ear drum.
  • Chronic ear diseases like cholesteatoma.
  • Presence of eardrum 'grommets'.

Eye disorders:

  • Chronic eye diseases like glaucoma, keratoconus and retinitis pigmentosa.
  • Surgery for a squint within the last six months
  • Corneal problems like a corneal graft or recurrent corneal ulcers.
  • Loss or dislocation of an eye lens.
  • Cataract or cataract surgery.
  • Detached retina.

Neurological disorders:

  • Epilepsy or more than one seizure or fit after the age of five. Any seizure or fit within the last ten years.
  • Multiple sclerosis.


  • Currently pregnant or had a child in the last 3 months

Psychiatric problems:

  • Schizophrenia.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder.
  • Alcohol or drug dependence.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Skin problems:

  • An active skin disease like eczema or widespread psoriasis.

Other conditions:

  • Loss of spleen (splenectomy).
  • Having received transplanted organs.
  • Severe allergic reactions or anaphylaxis requiring adrenaline injection.
  • Severe nut allergy
  • Circulation problems such as Raynaud's phenomenon
  • Diabetes.
  • Diseases requiring long-term medication or replacement therapy.


If you've used drugs in the past, it won't normally stop you from joining the Army, but after you join, you must not misuse drugs. The Army carries out random, compulsory drugs testing, and you can expect to be tested while you're in training. If you fail any of the tests, you'll probably be discharged.


If you haven't needed any treatment for asthma for 4 years, it won't stop you from joining.