Consultant rheumatologist shares the early signs of arthritis

Osteoarthritis: Elaine reveals her experience of the condition

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“Early symptoms of different types of arthritis of the hands include joint pain,” said Dr Hughes. The pain could either “feel dull or similar to a burning sensation” alongside swelling. “The pain often occurs after periods of increased joint use, such as heavy gripping or grasping,” explained Dr Hughes.

“The pain may not be present immediately but may show up hours later or even the following day with morning joint pain likely.”

Dr Hughes added: “Pain in the hands at the start of the day after waking is an important sign of inflammation.”

Arthritis can affect any joint in the body; the condition can affect anyone, at any age.

Common symptoms of arthritis, as pointed out by the NHS includes:

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

People who are experiencing symptoms of arthritis are advised to make an appointment with their doctor to discuss their concerns.

The informative charity Versus Arthritis says: “The earlier you get a diagnosis and start the right type of treatment, the better the outcome will be.”

One of the best management strategies for arthritis is to exercise, adds Versus Arthritis.

“You might not always feel like exercising if you have arthritis,” the charity notes.

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“And you might be worried that exercising will make your pain or your condition worse.

“However, exercise can make symptoms such as pain and swelling better.”

Low-impact exercises are recommended, such as:

  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Brisk walking
  • Yoga
  • T’ai Chi
  • Pilates.

Lifestyle factors can have a “huge impact on arthritis”, which includes eating a healthy, balanced diet.

“Although there are no diets or supplements that will cure your arthritis, some people do find that their condition is affected by what they eat,” says Versus Arthritis.

What is a balanced diet?

People are encouraged to eat a range of food from the following groups:

  1. Fruit and vegetables
  2. Starchy foods, such as potatoes and wholegrains; bread, rice, or pasta
  3. Foods containing protein, such as beans, pulses, meat, fish, or eggs
  4. Dairy or dairy alternatives
  5. Healthy fats, such as unsaturated oils and spreads.

Fruit and vegetables should make up just over one-third of the food you eat each day; another one-third should be made up of starchy foods.

People should also refrain from eating sugary foods and drinks, including cakes and biscuits.

Dr Hughes added: “To support long-term joint health, it’s important to choose a supplement that is backed by scientific studies.”

He highly recommends a supplement that contains the “compound GOPO®”, which “is shown to significantly relieve joint pain and stiffness in OA [osteoarthritis] patients”.

GOPO® Joint Health is available from Boots, Amazon, Tesco and independent chemists nationwide. Visit for further information.

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