Student, 21, suffers from condition so bad it ‘feels like being stabbed’

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A university student suffers from arthritis so badly that it feels like someone is “stabbing” her.

Kalifa Cuben, 21, said it also feels like there’s a golf ball “lodged” in her knee.

She has seronegative rheumatoid arthritis, an auto-immune disease which affects her joints and causes her immense pain, YorkshireLive reports.

Kalifa, of Hebden Bridge, West Yorks, said: “The best way I can describe the pain in my knee is like there’s a golf ball lodged in my knee, so when you’re walking, you have this structure in the way.

“It can also change to like someone stabbing your knee, or a long dull ache.”

She said there is also a mental toll caused by the condition.

The student said: “You know that you want to be outside doing things and being active, but you can’t, and you feel that your body is restricting you.

“I remember at certain points being frustrated because it felt like I’d get really angry with my arthritis for holding me back.”

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She received the "traumatic" diagnosis when she was 17, first noticing the pain when playing netball and her knee would "fall in".

But it took over a year for the condition to be properly diagnosed.

At first she “just didn’t deal” with the diagnosis.

She said: “First of all, I thought it was what old people had, and second of all I was in a state of shock, because being told you have a disease is traumatic.”

Many people wouldn’t believe she had arthritis, incorrectly thinking it only affected old people, she added.

She said: “On the train, sometimes I need to sit down, but that was before the lanyards came out, so it would look like some young person who didn’t care about elderly people.

“So I used to have to pretend to call my hospital on the train so I could prove to people that I actually had to sit down.”

She is now calling for more representation and awareness about the condition, in order to help young people with arthritis come to terms with it.

She set up an Instagram page – LifeandArthritis – to challenge preconceptions and raise awareness, and has teamed up with the charity Versus Arthritis.

One of the myths she wants to banish is it is an ‘old-age’ disease, because misconceptions like those can prevent young people come to terms with it.

She added: “It doesn’t discriminate, anyone can have it at any age.”

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