Getting back into action

Beverley's story

The power of innovation

When Beverly first got pains in her leg in her early 40s, she put it down to groin strain and tried physiotherapy to ease the pain. Beverly is a WPC who works as a specialist dog handler at Gatwick airport and must pass regular police fitness tests. As well as doing a physically demanding job, she is also an active mother of two and a keen horse rider so staying fit and mobile was a priority for her. When the physiotherapy and pain killers did not solve the problem she was referred by her GP for an MRI scan but the results were not what she was expecting – at the age of 42 she was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in her hips. She was initially told that she would need an operation in ten years’ time but after an incident where her son had a riding accident and she was unable to run over to help him, she realised that the situation was getting worse
and asked to be referred to a consultant.

Feeling isolated

Another MRI scan revealed that her right hip had deteriorated faster than had initially been predicted and a replacement joint was the only option.

Beverly was admitted as an NHS patient under the care of orthopaedic surgeon Mr Praveen Panose at the Gatwick Spire Park Hospital and he reassured her that she would be able to continue with her job and her active lifestyle after the operation and would not be left with an unsightly scar. She found attending the pre-op meeting of patients with physiotherapists unnerving as she was the youngest person there and found that the advice given was mainly aimed at older people. ‘I felt quite isolated,’ she says. ‘I was the only one there not on a stick or in a wheelchair.’ Statistics show that 10 percent of patients are under 50 and Beverly gave feedback to the hospital advising them to tailor their advice to different age groups.

Proactive attitude

Before the operation she undertook an exercise regime to strengthen her muscles and believes that this helped with her recovery. The procedure went well and Beverly was given a ceramic hip joint and a very neat 10 cm scar! Her proactive attitude to getting back on her feet, which included using the ‘My Recovery’ app, saw her tackling stairs within 24 hours, coming off pain killers after 2 weeks and returning to work with her beloved dogs Mason and Ollie after 6 weeks. She was quickly able to run, ride her horses and walk without leaning to one side. She has even appeared on TV as part of Dove’s ‘real women’ campaign where she showcases her scar on the Sky Witness channel! Mr Panose says, ‘Everybody recovers differently and at different time scales. Beverly’s recovery was excellent. This is what we aim for in every patient’.

Getting my life back

Beverly knows that at some point she will need to have her left hip replaced, but this time she knows what to expect and is not anxious about it. ‘It’s amazing how I have got my life back so quickly,’ she says. ‘My advice to anyone who is advised to have a hip replacement is don’t hesitate. Don’t put up with the pain – live your life’.

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Musculoskeletal conditions can often be invisible. Our goal is to be the voice for those who feel their story needs to be heard. We collect and publicise stories of individuals who share their experiences of dealing with bone, joint and muscle related conditions.

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