Arthritis is a common condition which causes joint pain and inflammation. If you have arthritis, there’s support available and things you can do to help make life easier.
What are the symptoms of arthritis?
Symptoms of arthritis include pain and stiffness in your joints, inflammation around the joints and limited joint movement. There are many different types of arthritis, each with different symptoms.
It’s normal to experience aches and pains, especially if you’ve carried out strenuous activity. But if your symptoms are unexplained, don’t go away within a few days or if they are impacting your day-to-day life, you should visit your doctor.
What can I do to help my symptoms?
Regular physical activity can reduce pain, increase your strength and prevent joint stiffness. It’s important to find exercises that are right for you – speak to your doctor for more information.
Look after your joints
It’s important to protect your joints to reduce the risk of more damage and pain, especially when carrying, gripping or lifting things. An occupational therapist can give advice on ways of carrying out everyday tasks in ways that protect your joints.
Simple things like keeping items within reach, using jar openers or electric tin openers and carrying things in both hands can help.
Eating a balanced diet and keeping to a healthy weight can help manage your symptoms. Being overweight can put extra strain on your joints, which can cause more pain.
Depending on the type of arthritis you have, there are different medicines and treatments available to help manage your pain. Speak to your doctor about what is available, and their associated risks and benefits.
Can I claim benefits if I have arthritis?
There are a number of benefits and grants you may be able to claim if you have arthritis.
Benefits for mobility problems
If you're over State Pension age and you need help with your personal care, such as washing, dressing and going to the toilet, because of your symptoms of arthritis, you may be able to claim Attendance Allowance.
If you’re under State Pension age, you may be able to claim Personal Independence Payment, and if your ability to work is limited due to your symptoms you could claim Employment and Support Allowance.
Disabled Facilities Grants
You may be eligible for financial support for home adaptations to help you manage better. This could include installing ramps and handrails, and getting specialist equipment to help you in the kitchen or bathroom.
Can I get help at home if I have arthritis?
If you need help at home with tasks such as washing, getting dressed and going to the toilet, the first step to do is contact your local council. They will work out what sort of support you need and how much you can afford to pay. Find out more about arranging help at home.
Most local councils don’t provide support if you just need a helping hand with your housework, gardening or shopping. Contact a local voluntary organisation such as your local Age UK or the Royal Voluntary Service to see whether they may be able to provide services for you.
We're here to help
We offer support through our free advice line on 0800 678 1602. Lines are open 8am-7pm, 365 days a year. We also have specialist advisers at over 140 local Age UKs.
Adaptations to your home, such as handrails, grab rails and ramps may make moving around the house much easier, and specialist equipment like bath aids, riser chairs and long handled grabbers can make everyday tasks simpler. You may also be eligible for financial help to pay for these. Find out more here.
Can I still drive if I have arthritis?
If your arthritis affects your ability to drive, you must let the DVLA know. This doesn’t mean that you will have to stop driving, but it's a legal obligation for you to declare certain conditions to the DVLA.
You’ll also have to let your insurance company know, but they aren’t allowed to charge you any more because of your condition. If you have an accident you haven't declared a health condition, your insurance might not cover you.
Our information guide In the Driving Seat has more information about driving with health conditions and making adaptations to your car.
Am I eligible for a blue badge?
You may be eligible for a blue badge, meaning you can park closer to where you need to go. If you claim benefits like Attendance Allowance or Personal Independence Payment, or you have difficulty getting around because of your arthritis, then this will support your application.