Strictly star reveals worrying diagnosis that threatens future dance career

Strictly star reveals worrying diagnosis that threatens future dance career

FORMER Strictly Come Dancing star Joanne Clifton has revealed she has osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis in the UK.

The professional dancer was diagnosed with the condition a year after her and presenter Ore Oduba won the BBC ballroom stalwart in 2016.

The 38-year-old said she first became concerned about her health while on the Strictly tour and woke up to find one knee was "so swollen and so stiff".

Speaking to The Daily Mail, Joanne shared: "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'.

"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."

Although she is not in daily pain, Joanne explained that she finds it difficult to walk downstairs or downhill and now uses a special support device to help her get out of a car.

The West End star is currently rehearsing for the upcoming touring musical The Addams Family in which she plays Morticia Addams and admitted she has been having "twinges" since practising her character's tango.

The dancer explained that she has spent evenings with her knees wrapped in a specially designed hot water bottle as her body get up to speed with rehearsing again post-lockdown.

She added: "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."

In 2014, Joanne joined Strictly Come Dancing and and also appeared as an expert presenter on spin-off It Takes Two in 2015.

Following her and Ore's win, Joanne revealed that she was quitting Strictly ahead of the 2017 series and was focusing on a career in the West End.

She first joined A1 frontman Ben Adams in a touring production of Flashdance and also played the title role of Millie Dillmount in the UK tour of Thoroughly Modern Millie.

Joanne was said to be one of the most highly decorated dancers on Strictly, being crowned world ballroom champion in 2014 and five times British Champion.

Earlier this week, the former Strictly pro spoke out in support of Tilly Ramsay after LBC broadcaster Steve Allen made comments about her appearance.

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