Osteoarthritis in hands - my reflections at Dec 2018

...Of the latter, the most thorough seemed to be the Margaret Hills regime of selected dietary adjustments and food supplements. I had noticed some books on the subject by Margaret Hills, and I decided to give it a try. As my doctor noted, at least it wasn’t likely to do any harm. I contacted the Margaret Hills Clinic for advice, and (in light of my symptoms) was advised what changes to make in my nutritional regime and what supplements, etc., to take.

The regime, and length of time before improvement

I began the regime in April 2007. It took a month or so for the dietary changes to become reasonably familiar. Living on my own, it was easier to adjust than if I’d been regularly cooking for a family. I found the hardest things to give up were cheese (it’s a dairy-free regime and only cottage cheese is permitted), tomatoes, and coffee. Six weeks later, if anything, the pain in the thumbs was worse, but I’d been warned to expect flare-ups in the early stages. This was still the case when I made my first visit to the Clinic in July 2007. By the autumn there seemed to be some modest improvement: there were fewer painful twinges in the hands; less pain in simple activities, such as writing. (Under the direction of the Clinic, I was also exercising my hands in Epsom Salts water.) By the summer of 2008 there had been real improvement – I could even snap my fingers again! There were occasional short set-backs, but the overall trend was very positive. In terms of sticking to the regime, the only regular infringements I make are to have a little regular milk in tea (perhaps once a day) – with cereal, I take soya milk. I’ve also found that as long as I stick to the regime on a regular basis, the occasional breakout isn’t harmful (perhaps three times a year when visiting family I would take some cheese, tomatoes, and even a small glass of wine). In effect, since 2009 I have been pain-free.

Overall sense of effectiveness of the regime

I should say that while the regime has certainly been effective in respect of pain, it hasn’t prevented the development of other signs of arthritis. Four of my knuckles are now somewhat swollen (though not painful). I should also mention that the condition of my right hand is complicated by the presence of Dupuytren’s Contracture in one finger and the thumb – both were operated on, the finger (2006) very successfully, the thumb (2012) much less so. In 2016 some painful twinges while running led to more X-Rays, which indicated the presence of degenerative arthritis in my feet (no sign of inflammation, presumably thanks to the Hills regime). I was advised to give up running, which I did (I’d never done a lot), and the pain in the feet disappeared. I also have some moderate osteoporosis in my back. In all these cases, I was able to consult the Clinic, and my dietary supplements were adjusted accordingly. I live in the city, and most of my walks are quite short – half an hour or so – on tarmac, but I recently did a country walk of two hours (mostly on grass), with no painful effects during or afterwards. I’m very happy to confirm that for me, the Hills regime has been a marked success.