A new hip and straight back into the spin of things

Davids story Hip Surgery.jpg

David's story

David’s gym video shows him repeatedly pushing up to 100kg on a single leg press – not particularly unusual for this keen cyclist, former competitive squash player and all-round fitness enthusiast. What is unusual is that 52-year-old David had hip surgery just 12 weeks earlier.

David had his left hip replaced by consultant orthopaedic surgeon and leading hip specialist Mr Hugh Apthorp, at HCA UK’s London Bridge Hospital. “You can see in the video I’ve already got the full range of motion back,” says David, “and nearly all the strength in my leg. In some ways it feels even better than the right side.

A minimally invasive approach

The 6’3” headhunter knew it was just a matter of time before he’d need surgery. “I had mild hip dysplasia, and I wore it out playing competitive squash for 32 years,” he says. “You can't be fully active and keep all your joints intact. You can't have it both ways!

David says the pain went from sporadic to almost constant within a couple of years. He initially saw sports consultant, Dr Noel Pollock, at the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health, a partnership between UCH and HCA UK, where he was treated for a hip impingement and soft tissue, labral tear. “I just tried to carry on with normal life but it got more and more uncomfortable as the cartilage wore out,” he says.

After a round of steroid injections, Mr Pollock told David it was time to see a surgeon. David talks about his experience of finding Mr Hugh Apthorp, who specialises in minimally invasive techniques which spare the muscles around the hip, leading to faster recovery with less pain.

I'm a headhunter,” David says. “My day job is literally about finding exceptional people. So I did my research; I asked all the right people, ‘if you were having your hip done, who would you go and see?’ It was Hugh Apthorp's name that kept coming back.

Rapid recovery

Further tests revealed that, on top of his previous diagnosis, David also had osteoarthritis, which was causing a lot of the discomfort. “Hugh said I should get my hip done within the year,” he says. “So I booked it in over the summer and here we are 14 weeks later – I’ve pretty much forgotten I’ve had an operation.

Mr Apthorp’s pioneering, minimally invasive surgical techniques and rapid recovery programme are instrumental in getting his patients back to full mobility as quickly as possible. David, who started doing gentle mobility exercises a couple of weeks after the operation and has gradually worked his way back to full recovery, says his rehabilitation has felt “nothing short of miraculous.” David needed just one night’s hospital stay. He was already walking with the help of a crutch the next day and was back working from home two days later.

Looking to the future

Although, he says, his days of competitive sport are behind him, David is clear he intends to stay fully fit and active for as long as possible. “I’m in my 50s and it’s a great decade. I want to be as much at my peak now as I’ve ever been. There’s still so much I want to do – and I don’t want to be prevented from doing it because I'm in pain.

The bad news is I’ve started to get the familiar twinges in my right hip, which means Hugh will be seeing me again quite soon! I’ve already had surgery on my shoulder, and there's a good chance I'm going to need two hips and two new knees before I'm done. I’m going for the full upgrade!

David is already looking forward to his next cycling tour of a volcanic range in Gran Canaria. “It’s going to be brutal!” he smiles. “When you've had a sore hip, it really focuses the mind,” says David. “It’s a strong reminder not to take your health for granted. I don’t want to wait to do what I want. I'm ready to crack on and go for it while I'm still in good health.

Find out more about our hip care

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.