Strictly star Joanne Clifton struggling to walk down stairs due to health battle
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Joanne Clifton, who was a professional dancer on BBC hit series Strictly Come Dancing between 2014-2016, has osteoarthritis. While she suffers with this painful condition, however, she is still determined to keep performing.
The dancer, 38, has now admitted that she has been forced to slow down on the dance floor after being diagnosed with osteoarthritis – the most common form of arthritis that makes joints painful and stiff.
Aside from the impact this has had on her dancing career, Joanne has revealed that she also needs help getting out of cars and even finds it tricky walking downhill.
Joanne first suspected something was wrong on the 2016 Strictly tour, when she woke up one day to find one knee “so swollen and so stiff”.
The arthritis diagnosis that followed came as a huge shock to the star, who is an accomplished dancer and West End performer.
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She said: “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.”
Joanne discussed this in her interview with The Daily Mail, who added: “Although she is not in daily pain, Miss Clifton, 38, finds it difficult to walk downstairs or downhill.”
Joanne, who is the sister of former Strictly professional Kevin Clifton, saw her career take off during her time on the show.
She won the Christmas Special in 2015 with McFly’s Harry Judd and in 2016 went on to win the fourteenth series with CBBC presenter Ore Oduba.
Since then she has gone on to appear as an expert presenter on Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two in 2015 and 2019.
Joanne has retained her love of dancing but has chosen to step away from the world of competitions to instead pursue a career on the West End – an ambition she had before she was diagnosed.
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In 2017 Joanne played the title role of Millie Dillmount in the UK tour of Thoroughly Modern Millie.
The star most recently performed in the UK tour of The Rocky Horror Show, where she was given a chance to shine in the lead role as Janet Weiss.
Now Joanne is rehearsing for her latest show, The Addams Family musical, in which she will play the iconic role of Morticia Addams on a tour around the country.
The actress has insisted she is not in pain everyday, but has confessed that walking downstairs is difficult and that she even has a discreet support device to help her get out of the car.
Whilst practising her character Morticia’s tango, Joanne has been experiencing some “twinges”, but has found ways to manage the pain through specially designed water bottles to help ease her joints.
“Touch wood, I’m not in too much pain for now,” she shared.
“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.”
The Addams Family tour begins in Nottingham on November 5.
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