Living with arthritis

Living with arthritis isn't easy and carrying out simple, everyday tasks can often be painful and difficult.

However, there are many things you can do to make sure you live a healthy lifestyle.A range of services and benefits are also available.


Many people with arthritis want to continue working for many reasons, including betterfinancial security and higher self-esteem.

Improved treatment approaches have helped ensure that many peoplewho are diagnosed with arthritis can return to work.This is particularly the case if arthritis is diagnosed and treated at an early stage.

You may find work challenging, but your employer should help you with the training and support you need.

Help is also available if your arthritis is so severe that you're unable to work. Find out more about the Personal Independence Payment (formerly known as the Disability Living Allowance).

Arthritis Carehasmore useful information about working with arthritis.

Healthy eating

It's very important to eat ahealthy, balanceddiet if you have arthritis. Eating healthily will give you all the nutrients you need and help you maintain a healthy weight.

Your diet should consist of a variety of foods from all five foodgroups. These are:

  • fruit and vegetables
  • starchy foods such as bread, rice, potatoes and pasta
  • meat, fish,eggs and beans
  • milk and dairy foods
  • foods containingfat and sugar

Too much weight places excess pressure on the joints in your hips, knees, ankles and feet, leading to increased pain and mobility problems.

However, being active can help reduce and prevent pain. Regular exercisecan also:

  • improve your range of movement and joint mobility
  • increase muscle strength
  • reduce stiffness
  • boost your energy

As long as you do the right type and level of exercise for your condition, your arthritis won't get any worse. Combined with a healthy, balanced diet (see above), regular exercise willhelp you lose weight and place less strain on your joints.

Your GP can advise about the type and level of exercise that's right for you. You can also download useful free booklets from Arthritis Care andArthritis Research UK, including:

Joint care

If you have arthritis, it's important to look after your joints so there's no further damage. For example, try to reduce the stress on your joints while carrying out everyday tasks like moving and lifting.

Sometips for protecting your joints,particularly if you have arthritis, include:

  • use larger, stronger joints as levers for example,take the pressure of opening a heavy door on your shoulder rather than on your hand
  • use several joints to spread the weight of an object for example, use both hands to carry your shopping or distribute the weight evenly in a shoulder bag or rucksack
  • don't grip too tightly grip as looselyas possible or use a padded handleto widen your grip

TheArthritis Care website has more information and advice about taking care of your joints.

It's also important toavoid sitting in the same position for long periods of time and to take regular breaks so you can move around.

However, making some practical changes to your home and changing the way you work should make things easier.

Practical tips that could help include:

  • keeping things in easyreach
  • using a hand rail to help you get up and down the stairs
  • using long-handled tools to pick things up or to clean
  • fitting levers totaps to make them easier to turn
  • using electric kitchen equipment, such as tin openers, when preparing food

You can find more useful information and advice about living independently at homeon Arthritis Care.

Occupational therapy

An occupational therapist can help if you have severearthritis that's affecting your ability to move around your home and carry out everyday tasks, such as cooking and cleaning.

They can advise about equipment you may need to help you live independently.

Depending on the exact nature of your condition, your GP may be able to refer you to an NHS occupational therapist. However, you may need to access this type of therapy through your local council.

Find yourlocal councilon GOV.UK.


Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 30 Nov 2016