Nearly a quarter of people of people in Great Britain admit they have a poor understanding of arthritis, the biggest cause of pain and disability in the UK.

The survey results have come just before national arthritis week, which runs from October 8 to 14.

Kate Lawson, 29, from Richmond was 26 when she was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, after seven years of unexplained pains.

She had to take a career break from her job at the civil service and has had operations on her jaw and both hips.

She said: “I’ve had to learn to live with the condition and handle the constant frustrations. It can also be frustrating that many people still believe the myth that arthritis only affects older people and having arthritis means just few aches and pains.”

She said she has tried to manage herself better and has gone back to college to study clinical nutrition.

One in six people in the UK are affected by arthritis and anyone at any age can be affected.

Alan Silman, medical director at Arthritis Research UK, which conducted the survey, said a lot of people believed common arthritis myths, including the belief no is treatment available.

He said: “Early diagnosis and treatment can make a huge difference to the prognosis and outcome of inflammatory arthritis.

“There may be many people in the UK living with painful joints and reduced quality of life who have not consulted their GP and are not aware of the many treatments and self-help measures that could drastically relieve their pain.”

For more information about the common arthritis myths, treatments available and Arthritis Research UK’s National Arthritis Week visit