WITH TV presenter Eamon Holmes undergoing a double hip replacement last month, The Nuffield Health Wessex Hospital in Hampshire says the number of people under 60 undergoing the operation is increasing.

For Lynn Webber, having a double hip replacement in her 50s has given her a new lease of life.

“Just over a year ago I could never have imagined touching my toes,” says Lynn, 54. “You don’t realise how much it affects your life until you discover you’re unable to do things you’ve easily done before.”

The accountant, from Over Wallop in Hampshire, first realised she needed to seek help for her hip pain around six years ago. She’d suffered for some years and it had got to the point where her joints would ‘lock’ and she would be unable to stand.

“One minute I’d be fine, sitting down having dinner with friends, and the next minute, I’d go to get up and my hips would have locked. There would be occasions where I simply couldn’t get up and my husband would have to lift me.

"Also, because my hip problems were as a result of osteoarthritis, if anyone knocked into me by accident I’d be in agony. It makes you think twice about going into situations with busy crowds, for example shopping, just in case you get knocked. When it gets to that point you know you need to do something about it.

"It was starting to have a knock-on effect on my knees too." she adds.

"I’ve always been active, going to the gym and taking the dogs on long walks, and I realised if I didn’t do something about it soon I’d be missing out on the things in life that I enjoy.”

Lynn’s physiotherapist recommended that she visit Jeremy Latham at the Nuffield Wessex Health Hospital in Chandler’s Ford and, just like Eamon Holmes, Lynn opted to have a double hip replacement with both joints being operated on at the same time.

“I wanted to get back into normal life as soon as possible and while it meant longer on the operating table, it meant I wouldn’t have to put my life on hold twice while I was recovering.”

Lynn, a mother of two, spent around three hours in surgery while Jeremy removed the ball parts of Lynn’s hip joints and replaced them with a new socket, made of titanium and ceramic. He fitted a titanium stem inside her thigh bone and topped it off with a ceramic head.

“The recovery was tough,” Lynn says.

“But what kept me motivated every day was seeing a tiny little change in something I couldn’t do before. I spent about a week in hospital and the biggest bliss was on day three when they took me down to the hydrotherapy pool. The relief was amazing. I felt weightless and all the heavy aches and pains just disappeared!”

After her week at the Nuffield Health Wessex Hospital, with regular checks from Jeremy, Lynn was able to return home. She then had several trips to the hospital’s hydrotherapy pool and weekly visits from her physiotherapist Rose Duckworth who gave her vital exercises to do on a daily basis to regain strength in the various muscles that had been affected by both the operation and osteoarthritis.

“The first month was hard,” Lynn says.

“But my family and Rose were amazing. My husband, Russell, daughter Hollie and son Alex were great, helping me to shower, get dressed and do my exercises. It’s important to have that support network around you when you’re recovering.”

Within a couple of months, Lynn was able to walk without crutches and now, just under a year later, she is back at the gym and walking her two boxer dogs, Tali and Tess.

“My husband and children would say it has changed my life hugely. I’m able to get a full night’s sleep without being in pain and can do things I wasn’t able to do before. The other day I touched my toes for the first time in years!" she laughs.

"I’m no longer as fragile as I was either. My daughter accidentally knocked into me a week ago and had a horrified expression on her face where she thought she’d hurt me. We burst out laughing when we realised it didn’t hurt anymore.

"My advice to anyone who needs a hip replacement is to get on and do it earlier rather than later. Medical technology is evolving so quickly and it’s better to improve your quality of life now, while you can go out and do things.”

The Nuffield health Wessex Hospital is running a number of free information evenings for the public on joint pain. It will cover knee pain on March 15, hip pain on March 16 and back pain on March 23. All three take place from 6.30 to 8.30pm at the hospital in Chandler’s Ford. To find out more or book a place call 02380 989541.