With the right support, you can lead a healthy, active life with osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis doesn't necessarily get worse and doesn't always lead to disability.

Living healthily

A good diet and regular exercise will help keep muscles strong and control your weight, which is good for osteoarthritis and also has other health benefits.

Read more about:

Eating a healthy diet

Health and fitness

Losing weight

Taking your medication

It's important to take your medication as prescribed, even if you start to feel better. Continuous medication can sometimes help prevent pain, although if your medications have been prescribed "as required", you may not need to take them in between painful episodes.

If you have any questions or concerns about the medication you're taking or any side effects you think you may be experiencing, talk to your healthcare team.

It may also be useful to read the information leaflet that comes with the medication, which will tell you about possible interactions with other drugs or supplements.

Check with your healthcare team if you plan to take any over-the-counter remedies, such as painkillers, or any nutritional supplements, as these can sometimes interfere with your medication.

Regular reviews

Because osteoarthritis is a long-term condition, you'll be in regular contact with your healthcare team. A good relationship with the team means that you can easily discuss your symptoms or concerns. The more the team knows, the more it can help you.

Vaccinations

People with long-term conditions such as osteoarthritis are often encouraged to get an annual flu jab each autumn to protect against flu.

You may also be advised to get a pneumoccocal vaccination. This is a one-off injection that protects against a serious chest infection called pneumococcal pneumonia.

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Talking to others

Many people find it helpful to talk to other people who are in a similar position to them. You may find support from a group or by talking individually to someone who has osteoarthrits.

Patient organisations have local groups where you can meet other people with the same condition.

The Arthritis Care helpline is open 10am to 4pm weekdays. Call free on 0808 800 4050.

You can also email them at Helplines@arthritiscare.org.uk.

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Work and money

If you have severe osteoarthritis and are still working, your symptoms may interfere with your working life and may affect your ability to do your job. Arthritis Care has useful advice on how you can make simple adjustments at work to make it easier to do your job (see below).

If you have to stop work or work part time because of your arthritis, you may find it hard to cope financially. You may be entitled to one or more of the following types of financial support:

You may be eligible for other benefits if you have children living at home or if you have a low household income.

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Life with osteoarthritis

Kathleen Smith describes life with osteoarthritis and how swimming helps with the pain

Living with pain

What to do about different types of pain, including joint pain, back pain and migraines, plus how to manage long-term pain

Foot health

How to keep your feet healthy and choose the right sports shoes, plus what to do if you have smelly feet

Page last reviewed: 04/08/2016

Next review due: 04/08/2019