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Patient completes 'The Welsh 3000s' after successful hip replacement

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Gail Noble from Snowdonia in Wales climbed and walked across 15 mountains over 3000 feet within a period of six months as testimony to the full recovery she has made after the hip replacement she had at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre (NOC) three years ago.

"All the way along I thought about the operation I underwent in January 2014 at the NOC," Ms Noble said, "and I felt so grateful to the surgeon Mr McLardy-Smith and his team, without whose skills I would not have been able to do that."

Gail started to feel pain in her right hip when she was 44. She has always been very active and outdoors orientated, having always been passionate about cycling, climbing, sailing and walking long distances.

She was diagnosed with a form of arthritis which required the hip replacement. However, the doctor advised not having the operation until it was absolutely necessary.

"I was disappointed about the idea of having a replacement hip while I was so young, but I wasn't worried because I knew it was a routine operation."

She managed to stay active and handle the pain for ten years, but, as time went on, she became less and less able to take part in the activities she loved doing.

"When I got to the point when I couldn't walk a mile, I realised I had to do something and go for the operation. The pain was critically affecting the quality of my and my husband's life, as these are activities that we do together."

She went to see her GP and about three months later she had her hip replaced at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre in Oxford.

"I received a top class treatment at the NOC. Every stage of the treatment was explained to me very well and I felt very reassured. The staff were very professional and everything was well organised."

The surgeon, Mr Peter McLardy Smith, talked Gail through the X-ray results and even showed her the artificial joint that would replace her damaged hip.

A few hours after the operation, a member of staff helped her to get back on her feet. She managed to climb some stairs and after two days she was ready to go home.

"I was also given a lot of useful advice by doctors and nurses on what to do after the operation - what exercises to do and what to expect. So, I walked as far as I could and I pushed myself a little further every day."

Gail had the operation in January 2014. After a couple of months she was mobile enough to go back to her work as a landscape designer in South Oxfordshire, where she lived at that time, and in June she was already climbing a mountain on the Isle of Skye.

To make the most of her recovered mobility, two years ago Gail moved to Snowdonia where she can enjoy climbing mountains and other outdoor activities as often as she wants.

Mr Peter McLardy-Smith, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Oxford University Hospitals, said: "We are always very pleased, when a patient makes such a good recovery. It's great to know that the treatment we have given has been so transforming to someone's life.

"Not everyone gets as good a result as Gail, but a patient's willingness to work at their recovery is also key for the treatment to be fully effective. Gail's fitness prior to her operation will have stood her in good stead and her determination to get back to her full fitness was an important factor in her recovery."

Gail has a message of hope for those who are going to have a hip replacement.

"I was given a new life after the operation. I know many people in their 50s might feel very worried, but this operation really is a game changer.

"I would say to them: 'Do it when it affects the quality of your life and go into it with a very positive attitude, because you can fully recover. Don't limp. Go and get it done.'"