Strictly Come Dancing’s Joanne Clifton ‘ignores doctor’s advice’ after arthritis diagnosis

Strictly: Mike Bushell ‘can actually dance’ says Joanne Clifton

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Joanne Clifton became instantly recognisable after joining the Strictly Come Dancing professional line-up in 2014. Despite her love for the show, Joanne, 37, parted ways from the BBC dancing competition in 2017 to embark on other projects.

The doctors will kill me but I actually find it better to do more

Joanne Clifton

The ballroom supreme who specialises in Latin and ballroom dancing bowed out from the programme on a high after winning the famous Glitterball trophy in 2017 alongside Newsround presenter, Ore Oduba.

However, despite her love of dancing and fitness, Joanne was warned by medical staff to slow down after being diagnosed with osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is a condition that causes joints to become stiff and painful and is the most common type of arthritis in the UK.

While the severity of the condition varies in each patient, factors believed to increase the risk according to the NHS include, joint injuries, age, family history, being a female and other underlying health conditions.

Speaking exclusively to, Joanne has revealed that despite medical advice encouraging those suffering to reduce their mobility or avoid excessive exercise, she finds it more beneficial to keep her fitness up.

After being asked how her arthritis affects her career, Joanne said: “The doctors will kill me but I actually find it better to do more, the more I carry on dancing and the more like I go for long walks every morning now and running.

“I was absolutely advised against running but if I don’t keep active, they [her knees] would get worse.”

She added: “So I just keep on going and yeah, I get moments when they do hurt and stuff like that, I’ve got to take supplements and all sorts.”

Recalling a flare-up that almost saw Joanne miss an episode of Strictly, she added: “Even in the Strictly final, there is a picture online somewhere of my knees in the dress run that we do and I’ve got all them all strapped up and stuff.

“We were actually worried whether I could actually go on and do the final that year, they got the backup, I think it was Karen [Hauer], to learn my routines ready to go on if I just couldn’t walk anymore.

“I think mine [arthritis] is just general wear and tear but I go against them, I’m bad.

“Really, I go against their advice and I do more than maybe I should.”

While Joanne continues to push herself, the professional dancer admits that she currently needs an operation on her knees, but fears she may not be able to dance again should she go ahead with the surgery.

“I need operating on both, because they’ve all worn away, all the cartilage has got all the holes in it and everything like that, so I need a little surgery on them.

“But I just feel like if I do that I might not be able to dance the same again but anyway, this is why I’m moving more and more into the singing and acting side.

“Because you know that with singing and acting, it doesn’t matter if you can’t really dance as much anymore and I am 37, I’m not gonna be dancing the best I’ve ever danced you know, I’m not gonna be able to dance forever, am I?”

Since bidding farewell to Strictly, Joanne has gone on to take the leading role of Millie Dillmount in the UK tour of Thoroughly Modern Millie in 2017, following in the footsteps of Amanda Holden and Donna Steele.

She has also gone on to teach dance to locals in her hometown of Grimsby, during the initial coronavirus lockdown between March and June of 2020,

To keep herself busy during the most recent lockdown, Joanne teamed up with former A1 singer, Ben Adams, to write their own musical, Bloody Nora, that had to be put on hold due to the theatre industry coming to a halt.

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