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Arthritis; the UK’s most common health related condition - a guide to understanding how it can affect bathing and what you can do about it.

9 April 2018

In the UK more than 10 million people each year consult their GP with arthritic related conditions. Of that figure, 33% are between the age of 45 and 65 with the total being evenly split among men and women.

Although there are more than 100 different types of arthritis, and arthritic related conditions, the most common include:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Psoriatic Arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gout

Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis account for the majority share, which totals over 9 million people currently living with either of the two forms in the UK to date.


Osteoarthritis (OA)

A degenerative joint disease, OA is the most common chronic condition to affect the joints. Described as ‘wear and tear’ OA occurs when the cartilage or cushion between the joints starts to break down, leading to pain, stiffness and swelling.

With no particular cause, several factors can lead to the development of OA, another reason why it’s known as ‘wear and tear’, including weight gain, injury, overuse and genetics. Common signs of its development include joint stiffness, particularly in the morning or after a prolonged period of rest, and swelling, especially in and around focused high impact areas after extended activity.

Worryingly a study by Arthritis Research UK found that, between 1990 and 2010, the number of declared disabilities, as a result of OA, rose by 16%, which is set to increase further as a result of an ever aging population.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

An autoimmune disease whereby the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the joints rather than, or as well as, fighting foreign bodies and viruses.

Although there is no real cause, partly due to it not yet being fully understood, doctors and medical specialist alike do know that an abnormal response to the immune system places a leading role in the inflammation, and further damage, to the joint.

Along with joint inflammation and pain many can sufferers can also experience fatigue, loss of appetite and a low grade fever.

Arthritic Bathing

In either of the above arthritic types the focus and impact is on your joints. OA is where they become damaged which can cause pain and restrict free movement. RA is an inflammatory condition which can cause fatigue, stiffness and pain.

Although there are a number of treatments types for each, including weight management, medication, joint replacement, surgery, physical and occupational therapy, arthritis is a long term health condition and, in the majority of causes, can never be cured.

For the most part, living with Arthritis, is about making changes in order to make life easier, make the management of the pain bearable and transforming the constraints into governable and enjoyable freedoms.

With regards to arthritic bathing we often find that one of the main reasons people enquire about our services and solutions; whether an easy access bath, level access shower or a mobility wet room, is a direct result of no longer being able to manage their existing fixtures, primarily getting in and out of a bath.


Around 60% of our customers directly link their bathing problems to a form of arthritis, and therefore seek supplementary help, information and advice, along with a best fit solution, that meets their personal requirements and preferred style / design, to help them overcome their present and future bathing struggles.

Whether gripping, walking or bending, there are a number of accessible bathroom and mobility bathroom solutions available that can allow an arthritic sufferer bathe with ease, safety, enjoyment, comfort and independence. Furthermore arthritis is a widely recognised health condition that qualifies for VAT exemption, when declared in conjunction with the installation of specified mobility bathroom fixture and fittings.

More Ability, part of the Passmore Group, is Yorkshires leading and most experienced bath & shower room specialist for all types of stylish, safe & practical and bespoke solutions. Offering a fully project managed design & installation service we pride ourselves on meeting individual wants, needs and aspirational requirements for both the public & private sector.

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