“People just don’t understand fully the implications of having arthritis”

Robert with his hand out in front, defy arthritis.

Every time you speak out about your arthritis, you’re joining millions of other people across the UK who are living with the condition. We’ve heard your voice and we’re here to tell you that you’re not alone.

Robert, who has supported our latest campaign, tells us here what it’s like to lose some of your passions in life and how important it is to have someone to turn to.

Having support makes all the difference

Robert was diagnosed with arthritis in his knee in 1991 which led to him having to give up football, one of his favourite hobbies. He was later diagnosed with arthritis in his hips and had to have two total hip replacement surgeries. The whole process of preparing for the procedure and recovering afterwards was life changing, and he couldn’t have done it without support.

Robert explains that after his procedures he really suffered psychologically, so he turned to various organisations for help. Having his own support group with family and friends around him was also really important.

Sharing your story helps everyone

Lots of people have told us how important it is to hear from others living with arthritis. Robert too has really benefited from speaking to other people with arthritis, and hearing their advice, his brother being one of them: “My older brother also had both his hips replaced so he gave me chapter and verse on what to expect. This helped me prepare myself before the operation and in my rehabilitation afterwards, it was nice to know I had somebody I could ask.”

At the time of his retirement, Robert was left feeling isolated and unable to be active.

“I was looking forward to my retirement and then the arthritis hit, and I was absolutely snookered. I was stuck indoors. All my pals who’d retired were out and about playing golf and things, and I literally went down the tubes.”

Robert has more recently discovered Versus Arthritis and our online advice pages and has said he would definitely recommend us to others in a similar position: “It’s nice to know that there is a charity out there who are supportive. They can give some really sound advice, some really good indications about how to look after yourself and reassure you that you’re not alone.”

We need to raise awareness

Robert thinks that more needs to be done for people living with a condition that is often misunderstood. “People just don’t understand fully the implications of having arthritis. I know friends of mine who suffer from gout and you can’t even have a sheet on your leg or your foot.

“As for going to work, forget about it. You just sit on the end of the bed in agony. It’s very much kept a low profile and I think that profile needs to be raised”.

After a long and debilitating journey with his arthritis, Robert is now feeling pretty good. He’s always aware of his hips, and says they’ll never be like his own, but he’s mobile again and feels grateful for the help he’s received. His main concern for people with arthritis now is that the awareness isn’t there. Versus Arthritis are standing with you to change that.

Get support from us

Together, we're exposing the realities of living with arthritis and ensuring no one faces arthritis alone. We’ll increase our efforts to reach every person with arthritis and give them information and support to manage their condition.

Whether that’s through our arthritis virtual assistant, information on our website, the helpline or the support groups across the country, we’ll be there whenever we’re needed. Get in touch today.