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Arthritis symptoms, info, advice & recommendations

What are the different forms of Arthritis?


Is the most common form of arthritis and it affects about 8.5 million people in the UK. It is age-related (the majority of sufferers are over 50) but it can develop at any age as a result of an injury or joint-related condition. The cartilage (connective tissue) between their bones gradually wastes away leading to painful rubbing of bone on bone in the joints, mainly the hands, spine, knees and hips. Treatment includes painkillers, non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs or Corticosteroids. Losing weight can help.

In severe cases arthroplasty (joint replacement), arthrodesis (joint fusion) or osteotomy (where a bone is cut and re-aligned) may be carried out.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Is less common, more severe, and affects about 400,000 people in the UK. Women are three times more likely than men to suffer from the condition, which often starts between the ages of 40 and 50. The bodyʼs immune system attacks and destroys the affected joints, causing pain and swelling to occur. This can lead to a reduction in movement.

The breakdown of bone and cartilage is likely to result in pain in the joints, tenderness and stiffness. Symptoms are often worse in the morning.

The aim in treating this form of arthritis is to the slow the progress of the condition and minimise joint degeneration.

Treatment takes the form of painkillers, disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), physiotherapy and regular exercise.


The third most common type of arthritis and affects around one in 200 adults, most commonly men between 30 and 60. Often said to be the most painful form of arthritis, it is caused by a build-up of uric acid in the body which causes crystal deposits to form in the joints, often the big toe, where blood does not circulate as well. This leads to intense pain, swelling, redness and heat and can also cause kidney stones. There are several risk factors for gout including genetics, being overweight and drinking too much. Some medication, including diuretics and aspirin, can exacerbate the problem.


There are many different symptoms of arthritis and the symptoms you experience will vary depending on the type of arthritis you have. However, common arthritic symptoms include:

  • Joint pain, tenderness and stiffness.
  • Inflammation in and around the joints.
  • Restricted movement of the joints.
  • Warmth and redness of the skin over the affected joint.
  • Weakness and muscle wasting.


Ignoring arthritis will not make it go away and left untreated, it could end up restricting your mobility. The first step is to establish which type of arthritis you have. Then you should take the appropriate medications and make any necessary changes or adjustments to your lifestyle.

Some people find that a change in diet relieves their symptoms. A Mediterranean-style diet rich in oils, fruit and vegetables has been found to help, as have nuts, oily fish, broccoli, avocados and berries. Flat, comfortable shoes significantly ease the pain in knee joints and losing weight can also reduce the pressure on joints. A study by Manchester University found that salt baths reduce the painful joint inflammation in arthritis sufferers.

Useful Websites

Did You Know?
  • Arthritis has been around for millions of years and even affected dinosaurs. Researchers believe that skeletal remains from humans living around 4500 BC show signs of the disease.
  • Today, in the UK, around 10 million people have arthritis.
  • Arthritis is associated with older people and indeed the most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis, often develops in people over 50. However, younger adults and are also affected and there are around 12,000 children in the UK with the condition.
  • There are three main types of arthritis; osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis and gout.

Any information of a medical nature on this website is given to provide a general understanding of a medical condition or conditions.
No patient/doctor relationship is to be inferred and you should seek medical advice from a qualified practitioner.
Nothing on this site should be used as a substitute for competent advice from a qualified medical practitioner.


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  • I have osteoarthritis and am concerned that rheumatoid may now be joining it. How can I work out the differences between them so that I can go to my doctor and ask for a blood test to confirm yes,or,hopefully,no.

    • Good Morning Mary,

      We would generally advise you to consult your doctor as they will be able to assess all the symptoms you are experiencing.

      We hope that it all goes well and wish you the best of luck.

      Spring Chicken

  • I wish more people understood the difference between different types of arthritis. Being told that aches and pains are just a normal part of getting older is so irritating. I sometimes feel like shouting that developing an auto immune condition like rheumatoid arthritis is not normal and nothing to do with age!

    • Good Morning Julie,

      Thank you for your feedback, it is invaluable and we understand your frustration.

      We have recently launched an Arthritis panel as we want people who live with Arthritis or care for someone who has it to share and learn about it.

      I have attached a link if you would be interested in more information.

    • Good Morning Patricia,

      We would generally recommend talking to your GP in regards to what options there are for anti-inflammatory drugs.

      Kind Regards

      Spring Chicken

  • I never knew that gout was also connected to arthritis. As I have arthritis in both hips and feeling sorry for myself as my brother had no signs of it. But he was diagnosed with gout quite a few years ago and is better now . Also my grandmother suffered with it. So obviously in the family.

  • I also did not realise gout was linked with arthritis. I suffer with both Ostio and Rheumatoid arthritis. Mostly shoulders, elbows ,wrists and fingers . I have also been told that I have it in the jaw joint known as ARTHRITIS OF THE RIGHT
    TEMPOROMANDIBULAR JOINT (TMJ). I am 67 and I still work, but I don’t think I will be doing it much longer. The hips and knees have just started. I love playing with my 2 bubble cars and my wifes 30 year old Triumph herald. When I am unable to use my hands anymore I think for me it will be the worst time in my life.

  • I have osteoarthritis in my hands and feet. Problems with my knees and spine. The consultant has offered to operate on my hands, remove the bones in the palm of each hand but I’ll wait until it is unbearable before I have an operation. My husband, his aunt and grandad before him, have rheumatoid arthritis, as has our daughter. She was asked at her PIP interview when she expected to get better ! Needless to say she lost her disability benefit, which took a year long fight to get back. More education is needed.

  • Thank you for letting me join your group I have had both of my knees replaced and pain else where but over the last two years I’ve been very unwell with my kidneys stop working which I had dialysis for still not 100% but now I’m beginning to hurt a lot in my bone even more than befor this last month my finger joints are very swollen and bright red hurts to touch it I hit them the pain shoots up my arms I’ve been told it is rumartord sarthritus I do a lot off craft work what is best for treating this I’ve a app with my doc next week haven’t been befor as i believed it would go away

  • Thanks for letting me join your group. I have had my left hip replaced and get injections on my other one. This is to delay more surgery and works quite well.
    Still working part time in my shop and post office it keeps me busy.
    The pain is always worse during our long winters as it is a very damp and windy climate. Sometimes have to take a few pain killers to get through the day.

    • Very interesting
      I have osteoarthritis spreading all over my body hands feet
      Inflamed spine had three knees over the years my hips are bad
      I was going to have another cortisone injection but cancelled
      It thinking might do me more harm can hardly walk at the moment ,

  • I have not got arthritis but my mum had rheumatoid arthritis from the age of a round 35 – I was a round 2or 3. I hope I can contribute by sharing how easy it can be to do things that make a sufferer life so,much easier.

  • Hi guys . I have just joined. I have rhuematoid arthritis plus. Osteoporosis. Fybromyalgia to namè a few .All can be linked to each other. Affect the auto immune system that attacks itself. Keeping a good sense of humour is key. I have put myself on many guilt trips about the stuff I can’t do .but thankfully I have my hubby .he has primary progressive m&s and is a wheelchair user. We have a lot to deal with but we make each other laugh and get through the days with a smile xxx

  • I just been told I have RA I’m so upset and worried about my future don’t no what to do I need to find out more positive things I can do to help my condition reading somethings on the internet is not helpful actually quit scary just really don’t no where to start I’d be grateful for any advice thanks folks

  • You have failed to mention Psoriatic Arthritis which is one that I overlooked.
    I’ve had to pull up several of my doctors and nurses as they only seem to hear the word Arthritis!
    I find that very frustrating.
    Atm I’m awaiting the results of a hla-b27 gene test.

  • I’m recovering from spinal surgery and the surgery on my back was brilliant. While I was immobilised with back problems the pain in my knees disappeared, but now as I try to improve my fitness by excerise the pain in my knees is very trying so l cannot stand or walk about for long and have difficulty sleeping. I use diclofenac,(Voltarol) from the chemist and codeine and have just about finished morhine. But I find balancing excerise and pain extremely difficuly and am so frustrated by my limtations.

  • Thank you for allowing me to join the group .
    I have osteoarthritis in my arms and feet so I’m hoping to learn a lot from this site as regards to daily living with the condition and hopefully contribute to this site in a positive way as well.

  • Interesting reading everybody’s comments and how people deal with the day to day living with osteoarthritis.
    My problem is getting started in the morning it feels as if I have to unravel my joints the are so stiff and painful. Analgesia is a no no for me it has little or no effect and actually makes me feel nauseous.

  • I have osteoarthritis I my knees and they are very painful Even so when I’ve had an x Ray ive been told it’s medium why is the pain so bad then. ? Last year I had an arthroscopy because my knee locked and I fell down stairs. I had to pay for it privately and it cost £3000 because my GP said it would be 2 months to see a consultant

  • I had a knee replacement on my left knee, which was wonderful after waiting some years from 2002, finally in 2006, but the strain put on my right knee means I have osteoarthritis in that knee now but apparently not bad enough to replace as yet, I was taking painkillers but was warned to take these for no more than a few days at a time, so how on earth do doctors think people can live with this pain without any relief.? I also have it in my hands my fingers are badly swollen & also my wrists haven’t been able to wear a watch for years too painful . I do eat a healthy diet & exercise, walk, otherwise I would be so stiff , what else can I do to help with this constant pain please?

  • Thanks for letting me join. I have Osteoartritis in both knees and my left hip. I cant take many pain killers because they upset my tummy. Ive had lots of tummy operations. It takes me a while to get going in the mornings

  • Thank you for letting me join the group….I have Osteoarthritis in both my hips and my faucet joint at the bottom of my back…I have difficulty walking most of the time …I was diagnosed 6 months ago…now I know what it is…I am trying to find out anything which can help my condition…I hope I can get advice from others in the group…
    I went for physio for the first time last week I have been doing all the excersises and must say I feel a little bit more mobile already….I now wish to lose a little weight which I have been told helps…I take paracetamol to manage the pain I had been trying to not take pain killers but better now as I take them regularly. I also find heat treatment works for me.

    • Hi Barbara, We are not medically trained so cannot give a diagnosis. However, I would suggest you visit your GP to discuss.

  • Have just had Trapeziectomy on my left thumb. Will have right thumb done as soon as possible. I had a re surface to left shoulder aprox 9 years ago but has all gone wrong so I’m waiting to have new joint fitted within the next year & have been told that the right shoulder will have to be replaced as well. I am now waiting to find out what action can be done on my lower spine, again osteoarthritis. They told me I would need spinal injections, (lumbar puncture). Getting quite nervous about back problems. Can you tell me how long the spinal injections last ?…

    • Sorry, Peter, we can’t give out specific medical advice. However, I would recommend you talk to your GP or Arthritis Uk can often be very knowledgeable in these circumstances too.

  • I have, I’m told got osteoarthritis- there is a problem with my spine L4/5 and S1 I do get back pain but no where near the pain in both sides of my hip both knees and my right thigh. I’ve had MRI and X-rays been to pain management and physiology. Had pain patches that helped a little but then became allergic to them all I can take is ibuprofen. I’m 74 and hate the fact my agility is so badly affected and my sleep so disturbed.

  • Thank you for allowing me to join your group. I have osteoarthritis all down my spine with nerve root involvement causing difficulties with walking sitting and standing .I have had steroid injections , I have morphine patches and oral morphine but they do not control the pain. It took two years to get any treatment but three years on I hope thing will improve.

  • I have OA .gout and arthritis. To the degree i have had to retire early ..I also have many other illnesses. Which makes i am no more independent. COPD,ANGINA. Hiatus hernia. Barrets.5 body hernia which I wear a full body corset for …sleep apena .CKD. And body rash for last 5 years which means oil ointment over most of body every night .

  • Thank you for letting me join . I have osteoarthritis in hands feet knees hips and right shoulder . I have had to stop going to physio as it was costing to much for taxi,s . My buses didn’t tie in with app times etc. Though I do try to do my exercises still at home . I did try acupuncture for awhile it did help but again became to costly .

  • I’m suffering with a great deal of pain in my back, hips, knees, arms, hands and fingers and left foot ,especially my big toe. I am loosing confidence in my GPs and have to start all over again each time I go to the surgery as I usually get to see someone different each time! One of the GPs even suggested that as I was 64 (then) it was quite normal! Not everyone over 60 should expect to be so debilitated! I can’t get around and often fall and trip as I also have a drop foot and my left leg and arm don’t work too well as I might have had a stroke. Am seeing a neurologist who hasn’t decided what’s wrong although has confirmed there IS something wrong when having MRIs. How can I go on … I feel so lonely and desperate and mum lives with me as she’s house bound and I can hardly look after myself. It feels like I’m a lost cause and don’t know where to turn to next for help and advice. I understand that ‘if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it’ but I don’t know if I’ll make things worse as it’s so painful and difficult to move, walk, or sit. Lying down is the most comfortable position for me … but then I end up falling asleep. Will I sleep the rest of my life away 🙁

    • Hi Christine, our in-house occupational therapist has sent you an email directly.
      She will arrange a visit to see how we can assist.

      Many thanks for getting in touch.
      Spring Chicken

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