Joanne Clifton health: Strictly star’s arthritis sparked tears amid ‘life-changing’ remedy

This Morning: Joanne Clifton discusses her arthritis in 2019

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Joanne Clifton was crowned Strictly Come Dancing champion in 2016 alongside her celebrity dance partner Ore Oduba. As she lifted the Glitterball Trophy, unbeknownst to BBC viewers the professional dancer was facing a challenging time behind the scenes after being diagnosed with osteoarthritis in her knees at the tender age of 31.

Now seven years later, Joanne has continued to raise awareness about the debilitating condition which can impact the dancer’s day-to-day life but she is resolute that she would never give up her career.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis and is a degenerative joint condition that impacts the bone causing wear and tear resulting in the cartilage joint breaking down.

There are 18.8 million people living with arthritis and musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions in the UK.

The 38-year-old has since teamed up with Arthr, a social venture powered by the charity Versus Arthritis, which is the UK’s largest charity dedicated to supporting people with arthritis.

A recent study carried out by Arthr found that 86 per cent of people living with the condition experience flare-ups at this time of year, impacting productivity and affecting their ability to work.

The Strictly champion has opened up about her diagnosis and the remedies that she has adopted which have made a positive impact in managing her painful symptoms.

Addressing the moment she was told of her diagnosis, Joanne confessed she broke down in tears.

She explained: “I knew there was some kind of problem because my knee absolutely flared up like a balloon. Just one of them. It was so stiff I cried that day. I was in so much pain.

“I had scans and the results came back that it was osteoarthritis.”

The dancer, who is currently starring in The Addams Family tour, said her first thought was that it was a condition that elderly people suffered from.

She continued: “My second thought is, ‘Oh my gosh, am I going to be carrying on dancing?'”

The stage performer explained that she sought medical advice and was assured her dance career was not finished.

Joanne added: “I took [arthritis] as more of a challenge, really. I was like if I do take medical advice I don’t think my career is over.

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“I’m going to prove that it’s not by doing everything by the book.”

During this time of the year with much cooler temperatures, a recent survey carried out by Arthr found that those with living with arthritis their symptoms worsened, with three-quarters (75 per cent) of people saying that they found themselves to be less productive in the winter and 61 per cent saying that it affects their ability to work.

Many people find that their symptoms worsen and become more difficult to manage, with hands, knees, feet, back or hips often feeling stiff, tender, and sore.

Joanne has shared a “life-changing” step in improving her symptoms after using Arthr products.

In addition to stocking up on vitamin D supplements, prioritising exercise, keeping your joints warm, and regularly speaking with your GP, Arthr has created products that have assisted the ex-Strictly dancer.

“I tried out the products and looked through their catalogue of stuff and it is actually genius,” Joanne explained, adding: “They think of things that would help all of us sufferers.”

She shared: “I thought, ‘Oh my gosh. This is life-changing.'”

Joanne revealed that when she is on tour or goes on long car journeys she carries her Arthr Car Door Mate which helps to relieve strain on her lower body.

The small gadget can help assist sufferers who struggle to get in and out of their cars.

In addition, she credits their Long Hot Water Bottle to help warm her joints during a flare-up.

You can find out more information at https://www.arthr.com.

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