I have arthritis… but it won’t stop me from tangoing. Joanne Clifton, 38-year-old Strictly Come Dancing champion, cannot dance as she used to after being diagnosed.

She flew through the dancefloor, jumping on drums, sliding down poles and being thrown into the air to become Strictly Come Dancing’s champion.

Joanne Clifton has been diagnosed with osteoarthritis. This is the most common type in the UK.

Miss Clifton, 38 years old, is not in constant pain but finds it difficult to walk downhill or downstairs. She relies on a special support device she can hold to help her get out the car.

Joanne Clifton, 38, won the 2016 series of Strictly with TV presenter Ore Oduba a year after she was diagnosed with the chronic condition

Joanne Clifton (38), won the 2016 series on Strictly with TV presenter Ore Odu a year after her diagnosis with the chronic condition. 

And after rehearsing for her latest role as Morticia in upcoming touring musical The Addams Family, in which she takes part in a ‘massive tango’, she has spent evenings with her knees wrapped in a specially designed hot water bottle.

‘It’s my new best friend,’ she told the Daily Mail.

‘Coming out of rehearsals where it was full-on tango, and after lockdown, I’ve been aching. I felt twinges, so I wrapped it around both 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.

Miss Clifton now uses a portable car grip to help with her osteoarthritis. She also uses a hot water bottle

Miss Clifton now uses a car grip that can be carried around in her car to ease her osteoarthritis. She also uses a hot-water bottle

‘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.’

Miss Clifton won the 2016 Strictly series with Ore Oduba, a year after being diagnosed with the chronic condition.

She said she started to worry when she woke up one morning on the Strictly touring show to discover one knee was ‘so swollen and so stiff’.

Miss Clifton at the 2016 Strictly launch. She wants to get across that osteoarthritis affects any age, and that it's 'not just for old people'

Miss Clifton at Strictly 2016 launch. She wants to make it clear that osteoarthritis can affect anyone at any age and is not just for the elderly.

‘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 can affect anyone at any age. There was a two-year-old who was diagnosed with it, it’s not just for old people.’

Arthr, a company that specializes in products for people with arthritis, designed the hot water bottle as well as the car device.

‘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.’

The Addams Family tour will begin in Nottingham on November 5th.