Arthritis cases are set to soar in the next 20 years as an ageing population becomes increasingly overweight, a reports says.
Cases of osteoarthritis , which mostly affects hip, knees and hands, could double from 8.5 million to 17 million by 2030, according to Professor of Musculoskeletal Medicine Philip Conaghan.
He said: "Britain is facing a tsunami of pain due to osteoarthritis as the number of people over 50 increases dramatically and obesity levels continue to rise.
"Action is needed immediately; we have to bust this myth that painful joints are an inevitable part of getting older that we have to put up with."
Nearly 75% of people suffering from osteoarthiritis complain of some sort of constant opain due to their condition and one-in-eight say the pain is often "unbearable", according to the OANation2012 report , commissioned by Arthritis Care.
The report also shows that one in five people had to give up work or retire early - on average 7.8 years early - because of their symptoms.
"Osteoarthritis also has huge implications for the wider economy in terms of lost working years and also for the NHS, which is currently performing over 140,000 hip and knee replacements each year," Professor Conaghan said.
Judith Brodie, CEO of Arthritis Care , said: "OANation 2012 clearly demonstrates that the individual, economic and societal burden of OA is already enormous, but with an ageing and increasingly obese population the future is looking bleak.
"We need policymakers and professionals to take the condition seriously; to implement robust and meaningful strategies to address how OA is treated and managed across the UK and to improve health services."