Derek's recovery story

Thursday 14 May 2015
A deformity in Derek's hip threatened his mobility, lifestyle and happiness. This is his story of conquering his condition, with a little help. Derek lives life to the full, he always has. “For me it’s so important to keep flexible and mobile,” he says. At 73 years old he’s fitter than many men half his age, doing two hours of exercise a day and practicing yoga and Pilates regularly.

But Derek looked like a very different man six months ago, when a structural defect in his left hip had begun to cause him excruciating pain.“For four months before the operation I looked like the road sign for elderly people. I walked with a walking stick and I couldn’t even stand up straight,” he says.

Derek has been an active member of the Nuffield Health West Byfleet Fitness & Wellbeing Gym for many years, but the pain meant he could no longer exercise at all. “After some time I went to see my GP, who was very understanding and she referred me to Nuffield Health Woking Hospital on my request.” 

“As someone who has always taken my health seriously I know that physio is the most important thing that you can do after surgery, but it can be difficult if you don’t have the support,” Derek says.

Derek was immediately seen for x-rays which identified a spur on the socket of his left hip. He met with a surgeon and was told a hip replacement would be the best course of action to get him back to his old self. Derek was also offered the free Recovery Plus package, which includes physiotherapy and a tailored exercise programme to support him back to fitness after surgery. 

Derek saw his surgeon, Dean Michael, three times during his three day stay in hospital, and saw him for three follow up appointments to check his progress after. He undertook a month-long programme of physiotherapy which then informed an on-going recovery exercise programme for Derek to practice at West Byfleet, with his membership fees suspended while he got back on his feet.

Six months on and Derek is elated by the difference in himself.“You worry about how you’ll be able to recover from such a major operation,” he says, “But I haven’t even had to take pain killers and I was off my crutches within three weeks. Aside from extreme flexing, like the swan pose in yoga, I have full movement in my hip. I’m back to who I was before the pain.

“Without a doubt it has been the support of all of the staff that has seen me return to fitness,” says life-loving Derek.

But there has been one less welcome side effect, he says:  “The only problem really, is that I keep setting off the metal detector in the airport!”

Getting up stairs with crutches

Getting up and down stairs while recovering on crutches can be difficult. This video guide shows you how to get it right.

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How long does it take to recover from hip replacement?

Derek went from unbearable pain that forced him to walk with a stick to playing squash in less than seven months. Explore the short history of Derek's hip with this interactive timeline.

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