Dance choreographer and Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel-Horwood was on stage last Christmas playing a pantomime dame when he suddenly felt his hip give way. He suddenly felt an enormously sharp pain sear through his right hip and radiate up his back and down to his knee. Assuming it was just groin strain he spent the rest of the production on strong painkillers. It was only after lots of massage and physiotherapy he realised the problem wasn’t going away.
After finishing the remaining three weeks worth of shows, Craig went on a month-long performance tour with the Strictly Come Dancing team. Finally taking a break, but after resting his leg for six-months without any improvement he went to see a specialist. An X-ray and MRI scan showed severe osteoarthritis in his hip, meaning he would need surgical treatment to resolve the constant pain.
“The specialist couldn’t understand how I’d even been walking. But I’m a professional dancer, and we are used to being in continuous pain.” said Craig.
Active people are at a higher risk of developing the condition earlier on in life than expected. Footballers and rugby players are particularly susceptible and its well-known dancers often suffer with hip and knee pain.
Though Craig hadn’t suffered any hip problems before he admits his line of work is likely to blame having studied classical ballet and modern jazz, “Where both of your feet are turned outwards,” he said before adding “I wondered if I’d ever dance again or if I’d ever be able to do anything again.”
Craig was referred to a private hospital in London, where consultant orthopaedic surgeon Professor Justin Cobb recommended he have hip surgery immediately. The timing wasn’t great as he had just started the 2013 series of Strictly Come Dancing and had other work commitments coming up in the New Year.
“I asked if we could at least do it next February, when my work commitments were over, but he told me if we waited that long my hip would deteriorate further and I wouldn’t be able to do anything.”
But Professor Cobb had some good news: instead of a full hip replacement – where the top of the thigh bone is cut off and replaced with a metal stem inserted inside – he recommended hip resurfacing.
Modern hip resurfacing was of course invented by Derek McMinn, who after several prototypes and trials in the early nineties designed the Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR) in 1997.
“Hip resurfacing has been a revolution for active younger people and professional athletes with worn joints,” says Professor Cobb, whose study work features in Mr McMinn’s 15 Year Results of the BHR lecture. “Ordinary hip replacements – usually made of metal and plastic, or sometimes with ceramic bearings for longer life – are incredibly effective for older people who are principally pedestrians,” he says.
“But if you want to be able to run, jump or dance, resurfacing is much better.”
A disadvantage of a full hip replacement in younger, more active people is that they increase the risk of complications because they are so active. Hip resurfacing is also a more conservative procedure: because you’re not removing as much bone as you do in a full replacement, the bone heals more quickly, so patients tend to have a better recovery.
Patients need around five days to recover from the operation whilst the overall rehabilitation period is much longer. Restrictions on movement and activities are up to 12 months. Just for Craig, Professor Cobb agreed to do the operation on a Sunday so that he could be out of hospital and back in his judge’s chair for the following Saturday’s recording of Strictly.
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Full story available at Daily Mail Online.