Cromer author writes two books on arthritis after stumble in Norwich

It all started in 2009 when Gill Carrick stumbled and hurt her knee as she was running through Norwich trying to reach her car before she got a parking ticket.

Jump to summer 2011 and that incident indirectly explains why Ms Carrick, an author and former BBC researcher and presenter, is now writing a book at her flat in Cromer about dogs with arthritis.

What seemed like a fairly straightforward knee injury at the time resulted in Ms Carrick suffering many months of inflammation which jumped around different parts of her body.

Sometimes she was too stiff to get out of bed, her jaw hurt, she couldn't grasp jars, and had to buy new shoes to fit her swollen feet.

Her condition was eventually diagnosed as reactive arthritis – an auto-immune condition that develops in response to an infection in another part of the body.

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Since then Ms Carrick has become quite an expert and it gave her valuable background knowledge when she came to write the Essential Guide to Arthritis which is published by Need2Know books, priced �9.99, on July 18.

And with her growing breadth of knowledge, she is now tackling a canine version, 'My dog has arthritis.... but lives life to the full' for publishers Hubble & Hattie, due out early next year.

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A 'massive' dose of steroids eventually cured Ms Carrick, who is in her late 40s, but she still returns to her GP for three-monthly check-ups and sticks to a healthy diet and exercise regime to keep her body's immune system in good order.

Her writing career dates back to days working as a researcher for former Tory cabinet minister Stephen Dorrell and writing for the Palace of Westminster's House magazine.

Once, when interviewing now-disgraced MP Jonathan Aitken over tea in the House of Commons, he told her: 'The only way to be taken seriously in this world is to write a book.'

After a subsequent career as a researcher on Radio 2's Jimmy Young Programme, the popular TV series Jim'll Fix It, and as a travel show presenter on Radios 4 and 5 Live, Ms Carrick eventually published her first book, Hidden Suffolk, under her maiden name of Elliott, while living on the Suffolk coast in 2001.

Since moving to Cromer in 2005, she has worked part time with regeneration group the Griffon Area Partnership, promoting tourism in North Walsham and its surrounding parishes.

She hopes the Essential Guide will benefit newly-diagnosed arthritis sufferers and their families. It includes interviews with medical experts and sufferers, a question and answer section with the charity Arthritis Research UK, and separate chapters on types of arthritis, treatments available and top tips for coping with the condition.

'Something like 10 million people in the UK have some form of arthritis and most people over 40 have some form of it,' she said.

'It's a very complicated subject. The are 200 kinds of arthritis and it is sometimes mild, sometimes very severe. It was scary for me and I count myself lucky to have received such effective treatment.'

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