08/10/2012 16:53 BST | Updated 09/10/2012 14:39 BST

National Arthritis Week: Common Myths Debunked (PICTURES, ADVICE)

To mark National Arthritis Week, HuffPost UK Lifestyle wanted to find out some of the most common misconceptions about a health issue that affects 10 million people across the UK, including 15,000 children.

According to Arthritis Research UK, nearly a quarter of the population of Great Britain admit they have a poor understanding of the condition, while many who claim to have a good or average understanding of it believe common arthritis myths.

Old-Fashioned Cures For Arthritis

Peter Jupp, father to three-year-old Rosie who suffers from juvenile idiopathic arthritis, explains that he didn't understand what was happening to his baby daughter.

"Rosie's symptoms rapidly got worse and within a matter of weeks she would begin most mornings crying in what seemed like pain, and refusing to get up from the sofa after she'd had her milk," he said.

"We have had to watch Rosie go through so much and as parents it has been heartbreaking so see her undergo the constant hospital visits and tests to get a diagnosis.

"There needs to be a greater social awareness of the disease. There is currently no cure for the chronic condition but without the pioneering research by Arthritis Research UK my little girl - and many other children like her - would undoubtedly be wheelchair-bound."

Common arthritis myths

• 48% of the population of Great Britain believe or are unsure whether cracking your knuckles can cause arthritis. Research has shown that it may be linked to ligament damage, but it does not cause arthritis

• 1 in 5 people in Great Britain do not believe being overweight makes you more likely to get arthritis, when in fact it is the strongest risk factor involved in the development of osteoarthritis

• 25% believe that if you have neck, back or joint pain you should not exercise. The truth however, is that at the right level exercise can ease stiffness, improve joint movement and strengthen muscles

• Nearly a quarter believed arthritis is inevitable when you get old. In fact you can develop it at any age and many older people do not develop it at all. A combination of risk factors influences the development of arthritis, including genetics and obesity

Alan Silman, medical director at the Arthritis Research UK, said: "It is particularly concerning that three in 10 people in Britain believe that nothing much can be done to treat arthritis and that people affected just have to live with joint pain, and that the same proportion would wait a few weeks before consulting a healthcare professional about pain in their joints.


"Early diagnosis and treatment can make a huge difference to the prognosis and outcome of inflammatory arthritis.

"There may be many people in the UK living with painful joints and reduced quality of life who have not consulted their GP and are not aware of the many treatments and self-help measures that could drastically relieve their pain."