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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 is osteoarthritis?

What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a condition that affects your joints. The surfaces within your joints become damaged so the joint doesn’t move as smoothly as it should (see Figures 1 and 2). The condition is sometimes called arthrosis or osteoarthrosis. Older terms are degenerative joint disease or wear and tear.

When a joint develops osteoarthritis, some of the cartilage covering the ends of the bones gradually roughens and becomes thin, and the bone underneath thickens. All the tissues within the joint become more active than normal – as if your body is trying to repair the damage:

  • The bone at the edge of your joint grows outwards, forming bony spurs called osteophytes.
  • The synovium (the inner layer of the joint capsule which produces synovial fluid) may thicken and make extra fluid. This causes your joint to swell.
  • The capsule and ligaments (tough bands that hold the joint together) slowly thicken and contract as if they were trying to make your joint more stable.

A joint with mild osteoarthritis

A joint that has been deformed by severe osteoarthritis

Sometimes your body’s repairs are quite good and the changes inside your joint won’t cause pain or problems. But in severe osteoarthritis, the cartilage can become so thin that it doesn’t cover the ends of your bones. Your bones rub against each other and start to wear away. The loss of cartilage, the wearing of bone and the bony spurs can change the shape of your joint, forcing your bones out of their normal position.

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.