If you have been to Therapeutics over the last 10 years you will probably know me, my name is Jo Smith and I am the Practice Manager here at the clinic.

I had been conscious for about a year that my left hip was niggling all the time and certain movements were becoming more difficult. In April 2017 I was at the end of my tether, the pain had increased so much in my left hip down to my knee and into my buttock that I was becoming more and more limited in what I could do. I was suffering pain at night and was struggling even sitting. I groaned getting out of a chair and quite often would stand in the evening rather than sit on a sofa due to pain. Walking was okay if I was on any flat surface, but hills were becoming impossible. I also couldn’t carry any heavy load upstairs as this would send a sharp pain through the hip! I did the normal thing of try and ignore it and hope that it went away – but after 2 weeks of struggling and lack of sleep through pain I realised this wasn’t going to happen.

I booked in for a physiotherapy assessment with Kim Waters who quickly advised that I needed to see an Orthopaedic Consultant. Within a week I had seen a Consultant Knee and Hip Surgeon, been referred for a MR Arthrogram (an MRI where they inject dye into the hip) and had a diagnosis of osteoarthritis in my left hip with significant cartilage loss. I was 45 years old – the Consultant advised that I would need a replacement hip at some point but suggested that I needed to put this off as long as possible.

I absolutely knew I wanted to put off surgery and try to manage it conservatively for as long as I could. Kim gave me exercises and stretches and I struggled on until January 2018. Kim told me (what I already knew deep down) losing some weight would have a real impact day to day on my joints. I did a lot of research on diet and switched to a low carb, high protein diet in line with current NHS recommendations. I cooked healthy nutritious food from scratch, ate lots of fruit and vegetables and made sure I still had a treat or two along the way!!

One month later I was just over a stone lighter and the improvement in my hip was already noticeable. Night pain had gone completely, and movement was becoming easier. With each further pound I lost I could physically feel the improvements and this spurred me on. It is now 8 months later and I have lost a total of just over 5.5 stone and whilst the diagnosis of osteoarthritis is not going to change, my life has. I am pain free day to day, I can sit and get up without groaning, I can walk up hill pain free and I can carry a heavy load upstairs without a searing pain in my hip. I get an occasional pain in my hip with certain movements and it aches sometimes if I overdo it, but this is now a rare occurrence and most of the time I am not conscious of my hip that was so problematic at all.

The combination of exercises from the physio and weight loss has meant I have got my life back. I now can walk the dog pain free, work out regularly at the gym and move without groaning. I have a big regret that I did not do this sooner. My aim now is to maintain the weight loss, keep active and put off surgery for as long as possible!