Strictly Champion diagnosed with arthritis

Joanne Clifton
Joanne Clifton Image credit:

Strictly Come Dancing champ Joanne Clifton has announced her moves on the floor have come to an end after being diagnosed with osteoarthritis.

The 38-year-old is not experiencing daily pain although she admits it’s now a strain to walk downstairs or downhill and needs an accessible device to help her step out of a car.

Not to be outdone Clifton is currently in rehearsals for The Addams Family musical which is set to tour the UK from November and is looking after her health by wrapping her knees in a specially designed hot water bottle.

Clifton, who won Strictly in 2016, told the Daily Mail: ‘It’s my new best friend.

Coming out of rehearsals where it was full-on tango, and after lockdown, I’ve been aching. I had twinges so I wrap it around my knees.

'Touch wood, I’m not in too much pain for now. When I start touring again with Addams Family, if the stage sometimes isn’t flat, those are the shows when it’s going to hurt and my water bottle will come in very handy.

‘I am still dancing but not as full-on as the competition world.

'I can’t really get up quickly off the floor any more so I either need someone to help me or I don’t go down on the floor and I stay up and do something.’

Joanne twigged something wasn’t right when she woke up one morning with a swollen and stiff knee whilst she was on the Strictly tour.

‘The first time they told me, whether it’s osteo or rheumatoid, you just hear “arthritis” and I thought, “Oh my god I’m really old”,’ she said.

‘But that’s the message I want to get across. It does affect any age. There was a two-year-old who was diagnosed with it, it’s not just for old people.’

The device she has added to her vehicle has made driving a lot more less hassle for Clifton.

‘There is a thing you put in between a car door. It’s really discreet and you can fit it in your bag and you can lean on it and it’s really strong,’ she said.

‘It’s things like that that I didn’t know I needed in my life.’

Strictly Come Dancing is on BBC One, Saturdays, times vary and is available afterwards on BBC iPlayer.