Christine has severe osteoarthritis. The pain started in her knees when she was in her 30s. By her 40s both her hips were affected and she experienced pain doing everyday tasks such as getting out of the car.
In her 50s she started to develop painful nodules on her fingers and had problems with gripping objects.
“Sometimes I just wanted to get a knife and chop off the lumps on my fingers; they were so painful,” she says.
It became increasingly challenging for Christine to hold a pen or a sewing needle, chopping food was difficult and paintbrushes slipped out of her hand. “The kind of things you take for granted became very difficult,” she says.
Christine took part in a trial funded by Arthritis Research UK. The trial, run by Professor Krysia Dziedzic at the Arthritis Research UK Primary Care Centre, tested the effectiveness of joint protection and exercises along with giving participants important information about osteoarthritis. This was delivered by an occupational therapist for people with hand osteoarthritis.
Christine says: “The trial showed me practical ways of coping.
“I’d struggled with potato peelers and tin openers but found there were much better ones available. We were shown how to squeeze out a dishcloth, how to hold a kettle with two hands and take the top off a hot-water bottle along with many helpful ways of dealing with everyday events.
"It was really practical information and it made an enormous difference.""It was really practical information and it made an enormous difference.
“Arthritis Research UK made it possible for the trial to take place. I think it's vital that the help I received is made available to everyone who needs it. Then, like me, they can carry on with their lives much as they did before.”
Read more about the trial Christine was involved in on Hands on approach to osteoarthritis.