Claire King, 57, has played Kim Tate on ITV’s Emmerdale since 1989. But a few years after joining the show, the actress’s fingers started swelling up. Shortly after she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Speaking about her condition in 2016, the star said she believed she developed the condition from “horse riding” in the Dales.
Appearing on ITV’s Lorraine, she said: “I have rheumatoid arthritis. I first got it actually in the early 90s with Emmerdale and the horse riding.
“My fingers started swelling up. It’s been a painful battle for the last 25 years really.”
Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation in a person’s joint.
While symptoms can be debilitating, Claire has been pro-active in finding ways to help her condition.
She explained: “We’ve got this very British stiff upper lip attitude to it and say, ‘Oh I’ve got this pain and I can’t do anything about it’.
“There’s loads you can do about it.
“I have a magnet stick. The world’s one big magnet, everything revolves around magnets.
“A friend of mine gave me some of this jewellery about a year ago and said try this for a couple of weeks and see if it works and I thought, ‘Yeah, another one these fancy things’. It really does help.”
The star even claimed she stopped taking prescribed medication after the success of the alternative treatment.
She said: “I have self medicated myself off one of my serious prescribed drugs. It can be a downward spiral.
“If you start taking other drugs you get side effects and then you get drugs for that.”
Symptoms of arthritis
There are five symptoms of arthritis to look out for, according to the NHS.
- Joint pain, tenderness and stiffness
- Inflammation in and around the joints
- Restricted movement of the joints
- Warm red skin over the affected joint
- Weakness and muscle wasting
The health body recommends a variety of treatments for people with the condition – two being healthy eating and exercise.
It says: “It’s very important to eat a healthy, balanced diet if you have arthritis. Eating healthily will give you all the nutrients you need and help you maintain a healthy weight.
“If your arthritis is painful, you may not feel like exercising. However, being active can help reduce and prevent pain.
“Regular exercise can also improve your range of movement adjoint mobility, increase muscle strength, reduce stiffness and boost energy.”
If you think you have the symptoms of arthritis, see your GP.