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Neil Shuttleworth dreamed of walking a boardwalk with his wife Christine and eating ice cream without the pain he had suffered from osteoarthritis. After an artificial ankle was implanted - made from the material used in bulletproof vests - this was achieved. The couple is depicted on the Promenade de la Croisette in Cannes on a photo that they achieved & # 39; mission & # 39; to mention

A great-grandfather who could hardly walk because of his paralyzing osteoarthritis, is one of the first in the UK to have made an artificial ankle from the plastic fibers used in bulletproof vests.

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The problems of Neil Shuttleworth started a few years ago when he tore ligaments in his left ankle after he had entered a pit on vacation in Cyprus.

The pain of the now 82-year-old became worse and forced him to rely on painkillers every day.

Deciding enough was enough, the grandfather of seven, from Huddersfield, came across experts from Spire Leeds Hospital while doing research online.

Having been diagnosed with severe osteoarthritis in his ankle, Mr. Shuttleworth's adviser told him about total ankle replacement surgery.

Because it was not available on the NHS, Shuttleworth spent his savings on the £ 16,000 operation and went under the knife in January.

The operation has Mr Shuttleworth & # 39; his life back & # 39; and he was even able to realize his dream of walking the Promenade de la Croisette in Cannes with his wife of 34-year-old Christine eating ice cream.

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Neil Shuttleworth dreamed of walking a boardwalk with his wife Christine and eating ice cream without the pain he had suffered from osteoarthritis. After an artificial ankle was implanted - made from the material used in bulletproof vests - this was achieved. The couple is depicted on the Promenade de la Croisette in Cannes on a photo that they achieved & # 39; mission & # 39; to mention

Neil Shuttleworth dreamed of walking a boardwalk with his wife Christine and eating ice cream without the pain he had suffered from osteoarthritis. After an artificial ankle was implanted – made from the material used in bulletproof vests – this was achieved. The couple is depicted on the Promenade de la Croisette in Cannes on a photo that they achieved & # 39; mission & # 39; to mention

Mr. Shuttleworth (pictured at 17) was always active. But stepping into a pit a few years ago, the ligaments tore into his ankle, causing him unbearable pain and being unable to walk more than a few meters

Mr. Shuttleworth (pictured at 17) was always active. But stepping into a pit a few years ago, the ligaments tore into his ankle, causing him unbearable pain and being unable to walk more than a few meters

X-ray shows the artificial ankle, which uses a high density E-Poly bearing - a type of polyethylene with added vitamin E

X-ray shows the artificial ankle, which uses a high density E-Poly bearing - a type of polyethylene with added vitamin E

Mr. Shuttleworth (pictured left at 17) was always active. But when he stepped into a pit, the ligaments ruptured in his ankle, causing him agony and barely walking. The right X-ray shows the implant, which uses a high-density E-Poly bearing – a type of polyethylene with vitamin E

The operation, known as Rebalance Total Ankle Replacement, uses an implant made from a high-density polyethylene with added vitamin E.

The plastic coating of existing implants disintegrates when it interacts with oxygen molecules in the body. This causes the plastic to rot, causing the surrounding bone to wear away and the implant to become detached.

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But vitamin E & # 39; cleans up & # 39; these oxygen molecules before they can cause damage.

& # 39; Poly-E & # 39; has been added to artificial hips and knees over the past decade, extending the lifespan of an implant by several years. It is even designed to stimulate the growth of the patient's own bone.

WHAT IS OSTEOARTHRITIS?

Osteoarthritis – also called & # 39; wear & # 39; called – is a condition that occurs when the surfaces in joints are damaged.

Cartilage that covers the ends of bones gradually becomes thin and the bone thickens Versus Arthritis.

About a third of people aged 45 and over in the UK suffer from the condition. This amounts to approximately 8.75 million people. It is known that at least 20 million people suffer in the US.

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It is different from rheumatoid arthritis, a long-term disease in which the immune system causes the body to attack itself and causes painful, swollen and stiff joints.

Replacement joints are often needed for patients with osteoarthritis, because the joint is worn out and causes painful pain.

Professor Nick Harris, an orthopedic and trauma surgeon, consultant – who carried out Mr. Shuttleworth's procedure – said: & # 39; The use of E-poly with its better wear properties is an exciting development and hopefully ankle replacements will last longer.

& # 39; The results of Neil's surgery are excellent and there is at least an 80 to 90 percent chance that the ankle replacement will survive at least 10 to 15 years. & # 39;

Speaking of the operation, Mr. Shuttleworth said: “When my surgeon asked me what I wanted from the operation, I said I didn't expect to run a marathon, but I wanted to be the best I could be for my age .

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& # 39; I said I'd like to walk along a boardwalk, hand in hand with my wife eating an ice cream, but without the pain I had lived with for far too long.

& # 39; The photo we took of us had the title & # 39; mission achieved & # 39 ;. I have sent a copy to my surgeon. & # 39;

In addition to enjoying an ice cream with his wife, Mr. Shuttleworth – who worked in the RAF during the national service from 1956 to 1958 – also realized his lifelong dream of flying in a Spitfire.

& # 39; He flies from Biggin Hill in Kent, one of London's most important defenders in the Battle of Britain, & # 39; he said.

& # 39; It was an experience never to be forgotten, as I took control for a while before the pilot took over again and the famous & # 39; victory role & # 39;

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& # 39; It was exciting. & # 39;

Total ankle replacement surgery involves removing the damaged bone and implanting a wear-resistant plastic prosthesis. The implant also stimulates growth and promotes bone healing

Total ankle replacement surgery involves removing the damaged bone and implanting a wear-resistant plastic prosthesis. The implant also stimulates growth and promotes bone healing

Total ankle replacement surgery involves removing the damaged bone and implanting a wear-resistant plastic prosthesis. The implant also stimulates growth and promotes bone healing

Since the operation, Mr. Shuttleworth - who worked in the RAF during the national service from 1956 to 1958 - has realized his dream of flying in a Spitfire

Since the operation, Mr. Shuttleworth - who worked in the RAF during the national service from 1956 to 1958 - has realized his dream of flying in a Spitfire

Since the operation, Mr. Shuttleworth – who worked in the RAF during the national service from 1956 to 1958 – has realized his dream of flying in a Spitfire

Mr. Shuttleworth – who used to do printing – was always active and walked and cycled through the UK and Europe.

But this all changed when his osteoarthritis caused him so much pain that he could only stumble a few meters.

Recalling the moment he stepped into the pit, Mr. Shuttleworth said: & I was planning to swim around Aphrodite & # 39; s Rock because it & # 39; eternal youth & # 39;

& # 39; We parked in an empty parking lot the size of a soccer field, and I got out of the car in the only hole in the neighborhood and tore joint straps. & # 39;

After having endured the pain for years, Mr. Shuttleworth knew he needed to take action.

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& # 39; I had to do something about it, & # 39; he said. & # 39; My condition had become unbearable, I had virtually no cartilage and when I went on my ankle the pain hurt.

& # 39; I now have my life back. & # 39;

Mr. Shuttleworth walked on crutches and a special boot for the first six weeks after his surgery, which was followed by a six-week physical therapy regimen.

He can now walk several kilometers at the same time and uses a treadmill on a slope to build up his condition.

X-ray shows Mr. Shuttleworth's ankle before surgery, which was affected by severe primary osteoarthritis

X-ray shows Mr. Shuttleworth's ankle before surgery, which was affected by severe primary osteoarthritis

He endured years of joint pain and stiffness (X-ray taken before surgery)
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He endured years of joint pain and stiffness (X-ray taken before surgery)

Left and right X-rays show Mr. Shuttleworth's ankle surgery, which was affected by severe primary osteoarthritis. He suffered years of joint pain and stiffness before taking action

WHAT IS REBALANCE TOTAL SINGLE REPLACEMENT OPERATION?

Rebalance Total ankle replacement operation uses an implant made from a high-density polyethylene with added vitamin E.

The plastic coating of existing implants disintegrates when it interacts with oxygen molecules in the body.

This causes the plastic to rot, causing the surrounding bone to wear away and the implant to become detached.

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But vitamin E & # 39; cleans up & # 39; these oxygen molecules before they can cause damage.

& # 39; Poly-E & # 39; has been added to artificial hips and knees over the past decade, extending the lifespan of an implant by several years.

It is even designed to stimulate the growth of the patient's own bone.

Replacement surgery results in more movement and flexibility in the joint than a single fusion, which fuses the bones into one piece.

But the procedure is relatively new and therefore the results are more uncertain.

That is why the operation is usually reserved for older people who are not overly active.

The failure rate for ankle replacement surgery can rise to 19 percent within ten years, with some patients needing a fusion.

Due to the uncertainties surrounding ankle replacement surgery, it is usually not available on the NHS.

In the past, however, hip fusion was the norm, with replacement surgery now being preferred.

Source: Arthritis Research UK

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