Can magnets help arthritis?

Q) Could you please explain any benefits that magnets can or can't provide in respect to arthritis and in particular if magnets can affect the blood circulation?
T D Moore, Poynton, Cheshire (Winter 2006)

A) This question crops up a lot at the moment. Also, I've noticed an increasing number of people coming to clinic wearing various sorts of magnets, some as attractive bracelets. In my opinion they're not cheap! Recent research sponsored by Arthritis Research UK has shown benefit in osteoarthritis of the hip and knee. Pain was reduced with the ‘active’ magnet compared to a control non-magnetic bracelet. There's some evidence that the stronger the magnet the better the effect. As yet, nobody knows how they work.