Skier back on Alps months after hip op

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SKIING is not normally an activity associated with a hip replacement patient.

But Ian Clarke, 72, was determined to get back on the slopes as soon as possible after his operation at Goring Hall Hospital in April last year, to continue enjoying the hobby that was introduced to him as a child.

Nine months after surgery, he had to phone hip and knee specialist consultant Nirav Shah, who performed the operation, to ask permission to travel to Courchevel for a skiing holiday.

Mr Clarke, of Ryecroft Lane, Storrington, said: “I had been in pain for quite a while and I had been skiing in January last year and I was in so much pain that I decided I had to do something about it.

“When I first went to the hospital I thought the problem was my knee as that is where the pain was.

“But when the consultant looked at my x-rays he told me that it was referred pain as it was actually coming from my hip.

“He said that if he gave me a new hip I should experience a 75 per cent reduction in pain and since the operation I have had very little pain at all which is great.”

Mr Clarke said his children were concerned when he wanted to ski so soon after the hip replacement.

“They asked me if I was sure, but I had done a lot of walking after the operation and was ready for the next challenge.

“I also had to ask my consultant Mr Shah for permission before I went and he went away and thought about it for a little while.

“I told him that I was quite an experienced skier and had to promise that I would not do anything silly.

“Although I did lots of red runs I did not do any black runs and I had to be extra careful that I did not have any falls.

“It was just wonderful to be skiing again, I loved it, and it was the first time in years I had skied without having any pain.”

Mr Clarke credits walking with helping him to get fit again and rebuild the muscles in his left thigh.

He said: “The important thing is that you do all the exercises that the hospital give you and you are out of bed and walking as soon as possible after the operation.

“There is no way I would have been able to go skiing if it was not for that. You have got to remain active especially as you get older.”

Mr Shah said: “It is very uncommon for a patient to get back to skiing after a hip replacement because of the risk involved if they were to slip or fall as they would risk dislocating the hip.

“However, the way I do the operation is quite different as I fit a ceramic bearing surface using a bigger ball and I split the muscles rather than cutting them which makes a big difference. I also do not use any cement.

“It is great when a patient who was previously in a lot of pain can lead an active life again.”