Craig Revel Horwood health: ‘It was getting worse’ Strictly star’s health battle

Craig Revel Horwood, 54, is an Australian-British dancer, choreographer, conductor, author, theatre director and television personality. His commitment to dancing and theatrical performance is on full display every Saturday night as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing. Speaking to the last year, the Strictly judge revealed he has a chronic health condition. He first experienced symptoms during a theatre production of Snow White back in 2013.

I assumed I’d ripped a ligament

Craig Revel Horwood

Playing the role of Wicked Queen, the strictly star recounted how a single high kick sent agonising pain shooting down his leg.

“I assumed I’d ripped a ligament,” he said.

Adding: “I knew it was never going to get better while I was doing panto and shortly after that finished I had the Strictly tour. Then I was going to Australia for six weeks so thought I had plenty of time for it to heal. I kept going with a mixture of off-the-shelf painkillers.”

However, the pain persisted: “Normally ligament damage fixes itself, every dancer knows that, but this was a mystery. I was doing all the right things – resting and stretching – but it was getting progressively worse.”

After getting an MRI scan, it turned out he had osteoarthritis.

According to the NHS, osteoarthritis is a condition that causes joints to become painful and stiff. It’s the most common type of arthritis in the UK.

Along with joint pain and stiffness, some people also have symptoms such as:

  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Grating or crackling sound when moving the affected joints

While the exact cause of the condition is not known, joint injury, as in Horwood’s case, is said to increase a person’s risk of developing osteoarthritis.

As the NHS explained, other risk factors include:

  • Other conditions (secondary arthritis) – osteoarthritis can happen in joints severely damaged by a previous or existing condition, such as rheumatoid Arthritis or gout
  • Age – a person’s risk of developing the condition increases as they get older
  • Family history – osteoarthritis may run in families, although studies have not identified a single gene responsible
  • Obesity – being obese puts excess strain on your joints, particularly those that bear most of your weight, such as your knees and hips
  • Being a woman – osteoarthristis is more common in women than men

How to treat it

Osteoarthritis is a long-term condition and cannot be cured, but a number of treatments can help to alleviate symptoms. Taking certain measures may actually improve the condition, noted the NHS.

While mild symptoms may be alleviated by making simple lifestyle tweaks such as doing regular exercise and wearing suitable footwear, more severe cases can require painkillers and even surgery to replace or strengthen the affected joint.

Horwood’s treatment consisted of a combination of medication and surgery. He ended up having a hip replacement to treat the osteoarthritis.

A mere week after his operation, he was back on Strictly to fulfil his judging duties.

Commenting on that time, he quipped: “I was as high as a kite on morphine. I gave everyone eights and nines. It was the happiest I have ever been.”

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