Myth: Hobbies such as knitting and gardening make my arthritis worse
Keeping up interests and hobbies is a great way to maintain self-esteem and confidence, which can be critical to help you live with arthritis pain.
No scientific research exists to suggest knitting or gardening make arthritis worse. If either increases your pain, then it might be worth adapting the activity to avoid straining particular joints. You can make many modifications to your gardening, for example, long handled tools, such as trowels, can help you avoid bending too much, as can planting in high containers rather than at ground level.
Myth: I can’t wear high heels if I have arthritis
It’s true that high heels can aggravate your arthritis as they place more pressure on your foot, ankle and knee joints . That said, if you really wanted to wear high heels for an important occasion and you were willing to deal with the potential increase in your symptoms or pain, there is no evidence to suggest that you will make the condition worse long term.
Myth: I have arthritis so my children will get it
Most forms of arthritis are not totally down to genetics – it’s more likely a combination of genetic and environmental factors that put you at risk.
For example, family history may play some role in osteoarthritis, but studies haven’t yet found which gene causes this. Likewise, though research on the role of genetics with rheumatoid arthritis is limited, there is some research to suggest that this form of arthritis can run in families. This being said, it’s likely that the risk of inheriting the condition is low as genes are only thought to play a small role in the condition9.
If you have arthritis as a consequence of a condition, such as Stickler syndrome, then it may be that the condition could be inherited.
Myth: Exercise will make my arthritis worse
If your arthritis is painful, it’s understandable that you might not want to exercise. Regular activity, however, especially when dealing with osteoarthritis, is often prescribed as a way to manage the condition. It can help by:
- Building muscle
- Strengthening the joints
- Reducing pain and stiffness
- Improving joint mobility
- Giving your mood and energy a boost
- Keeping your weight at a healthy level to reduce pressure on your joints
- Improving posture
The important thing is that you do the right type of exercise. Low-impact exercise, such as swimming and walking, are good options. Your physiotherapist should be able to advise you on the types and amount of exercise that will suit you.
Exercising with Rheumatoid arthritis requires an individually tailored approach, so it is important to speak to a health professional in order for them to prescribe appropriate activities, or refer you to a Physiotherapist who would work closely with a Rheumatologist to design exercises for you and your needs.
Being active with arthritis - AXA Health
Boost your bone health - AXA Health
- Arthritis - NHS
- NSAIDs - NHS
- Orthotic inserts for Arthritis – Arthritis Foundation
- Hydrotherapy – Arthritis foundation
- Steroids for rheumatoid arthritis - NHS
- Heating recommendations - NHS
- Vitamin D - NHS
- Capsaicin for arthritis – Versus Arthritis
- Rheumatoid arthritis and genetics - NHS