The Waterloo Road star is one of the 15 celebrities preparing to put themselves to the test as they compete on the 21st series of dance competition series Strictly.
Just days after it was announced that he had joined the cast, Thomas shared on his 35th birthday that he had recently been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.
An autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term condition that causes pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints. It usually affects the hands, feet and wrists and can cause flare-up periods where symptoms become worse for a period of time.
On Sunday (3 September), the former Coronation Street star posted a shirtless selfie to Instagram following a swimming session.
Writing in the caption, Thomas said that he was posting the image “to get comfortable feeling uncomfortable”.
“Am not in the best shape of my life, but I could be worse,” he wrote. “This year has been tough there’s no doubt about that… but I’ve just got to stay focused now! I’m still struggling and the pain is still there but I’m putting on a brave face I’ve got to stay strong [sic]!”
Thomas continued: “Swimming helps me so much with my arthritis, I mean as much as it kills me getting my top off and going for a swim, I know it’s helping me and I know it’s also helping me deal with the issues I’ve got with me and my body. Which is a good thing!”
“Got a feeling am going to get a lot more out of the next few months than I bargained for [sic]! Let’s go!”
Thomas announced that he had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis last month, explaining that he had “been in a lot of pain since January”.
“It started with my knees and then travelled to my wrists, fingers and now ankles and toes,” he wrote. “I never knew what was happening and finally after several blood tests and back and forth to doctors and hospitals, I’ve been diagnosed with rheumatoid Arthritis!”
The actor had originally said that he signed up for Strictly – which begins later this month – in order “to be able to move again, get fit and do it, all with a smile on my face”.
Strictly Come Dancing returns in September on BBC One.