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What can it do?

Welcome to the beta Arthritis Virtual Assistant. At the moment it can give you general information about your condition and medication, and provide you with useful exercises to help manage your arthritis.

Why do we need your help?

The Arthritis Virtual Assistant has been built to learn and improve with every use. That way, whenever you use it, you’re indirectly helping another person get the answers that they need for their arthritis.

What can you ask?

You'll get the best response if your question relates to a single type of arthritis, and is expressed as clearly and simply as possible. For example, "What are the best exercises for osteoarthritis?" or "What are the side effects of methotrexate?"

Are you sure you want to close your conversation?

Your conversation will not be visible the next time you visit the Arthritis Virtual Assistant. If you want to keep a copy of the advice you've been given, you can print it using the button at the top of the chat window.

Arthritis Virtual Assistant

The Arthritis Virtual Assistant is being developed into a brand new type of tool which will help you to get the answers you need for your type of arthritis.

This automated chat service is designed to provide general information about your condition and ways you can manage it. It’s been developed from over 80 years of our research work and also learns from the experiences of its users. It’s a ‘beta’ version which means it’s still learning from you, and others. It uses artificial intelligence to decide which are the best responses to give you and it will improve each time it’s used. The better the information we can provide then the more people we can help to manage their condition too.

The advice in this service isn’t a substitute for professional medical advice so we’d always recommend speaking to your doctor about your treatment. When you use the Arthritis Virtual Assistant, you’ll be asked for your first name and the type of arthritis you have, there’s no need to tell us anything more personal than that.

By using the Arthritis Virtual Assistant you confirm that you understand and accept the terms of use and consent to how we will use the information you provide.

Helpline 0800 5200 520 More information

Call us for free information, help and advice on your type of arthritis.

All calls are recorded for training and quality purposes.
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> > > > What causes osteoarthritis?

What causes osteoarthritis?

Many factors can increase your risk of osteoarthritis. It’s often a mixture of these that leads to the condition:

Age – Osteoarthritis usually starts from the late 40s onwards. We don’t fully understand why it’s more common in older people, but it might be due to your muscles weakening and your body being less able to heal itself, or your joint slowly wearing out over time.

Gender – For most joints, especially the knees and hands, osteoarthritis is more common and more severe in women.

Obesity – Being overweight is an important factor in causing osteoarthritis, especially in your knee. It also increases your chances of osteoarthritis slowly becoming worse.

Joint injury – A major injury or operation on a joint may lead to osteoarthritis in that joint later in life. Normal activity and exercise don’t cause osteoarthritis, but doing very hard activities over and over or physically demanding jobs can increase your risk.

Joint abnormalities – If you were born with abnormalities or developed them in childhood, it can lead to earlier and more severe osteoarthritis than usual. Perthes’ disease of the hips is an example.

Genetic factors – Nodal osteoarthritis, which particularly affects the hands of middle-aged women, runs strongly in families, although it’s not yet clear which genes are involved. And some rare forms of osteoarthritis which start at an earlier age are linked with genes that affect collagen (an essential part of cartilage). Genetic factors play a smaller, but still important, part in osteoarthritis of the hip and knee. Arthritis Research UK has recently funded a grant into unravelling the genetic causes of osteoarthritis.

Other types of joint disease – Sometimes osteoarthritis is a result of damage from a different kind of joint disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout.

Risk factors for osteoarthritis

We've also recently opened the Arthritis Research UK Centre for Osteoarthritis Pathogenesis, which will look to understand why osteoarthritis develops.

Helpline

0800 5200 520

Our new helpline: Call us for free information, help and advice on your type of arthritis. Open Mon–Fri 9am–8pm.

All calls are recorded for training and quality purposes

Virtual Assistant

Our new Arthritis Virtual Assistant uses artificial intelligence to answer your arthritis related questions 24/7.

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For more information, go to www.arthritisresearchuk.org.
Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.