ENGLAND table tennis international David McBeath is confident his recent hip operation will get him back to his best and competing pain-free.

The Commonwealth Games medallist from Rownhams went under the knife to sort out a problem with his right hip.

A condition called femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), dating back to adolescence, was at the root of the problem, leading to a tear in the labrum – the rim of soft cartilage surrounding the hip socket.

The condition is also present in his left hip, but that has not caused any issues – as a right-hander, it is the twisting motion on the right hip which has created the problem.

The 28-year-old said: “I’ve had some pain for years but I was playing in Germany in the second Bundesliga a few months ago – and I was playing well – but I was getting a lot more bother from it. I was struggling more with it this year than in previous years.

“I had some physio in February and March and managed to get an MRA scan, where they inject dye into your hip, just before lockdown. They thought the damage had gone a bit too far for injections, so they recommended speaking to a surgeon.”

The process was delayed by the pandemic, but McBeath was able to speak to the surgeon by video call and then saw him face-to-face last month.

“He thought surgery would be a good route for me and would have a lot of benefits,” said McBeath. “He managed to fit me in so I had the operation last week and had a piece of bone removed.”

McBeath is grateful for support from the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS), whose medical scheme covered the cost of the procedure.

He will be on crutches for four to six weeks and the total recovery time should be between four and six months – he started physio on the first day of recovery. However, he is not putting any target on his return to action.

“If there ever was a good time to have an operation, it’s now, because we don’t know when competitions will resume," he said.

"Hopefully, I won’t miss out on too much.

“I don’t want to set a timeframe or put pressure on myself that I want to do this or that. I’ve got the third year of my degree which I need to finish, but being back in the spring would be a good goal. I’d like to give myself plenty of time.”

That degree is a BSc in sports rehabilitation at the University of Nottingham, so McBeath has a much better understanding of the procedure he underwent than the average sportsperson.

He said: “I’ve obviously been intrigued to understand more and have had a lot of help from my lecturers and they reassured me that it’s quite a straightforward procedure which a lot of people have had.”