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Can chlorine filtration ease arthritis-related pain?

Q) Approximately four years ago, I fell and broke five bones in and around my ankle. Following surgery and a speedy recovery, I later developed arthritis throughout the ankle area. Obviously, this was very unpleasant and painful, particularly in the cold Canadian winters. Earlier this year, I put a whole-house water filter in my house, which among other things removes chlorine from the water. To my surprise, I've not felt any arthritic pain since installing the water filtration system! To your knowledge, is the absence of chlorine and diminished arthritis related? For example, as I write, it's minus 30 degrees (without the wind chill), and I have no pain whatever.
Ray, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan (Spring 2009)

A) Greetings to all those readers in Moose Jaw! I've not heard of this one before. It's well known that a fracture involving a joint can lead to arthritis in that same joint after a number of years. You sound to have developed symptoms of arthritis quite soon after the accident. I don’t want to appear sceptical but I wonder if the symptoms you had in the ankle following the severe injuries were due to the trauma and that these symptoms have improved with time, as they do. However, having said that, the good news is that your pain is gone and whether it was time (as I suggest) or chlorine elimination (as you propose) doesn’t matter. On another note, you don’t give personal details such as age, but has anyone considered the state of your bones generally? People living in very northern latitudes, such as you, are susceptible to vitamin D deficiency, which can cause a fall in bone density. Enjoy the rest of your winter.

This answer was provided by Dr Philip Helliwell for the Spring 2009 edition of our magazine, Arthritis Today, and was correct at the time of publication.

Send your questions for Dr Tom Margham to enquiries@arthritisresearchuk.org


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