The Knee Foundation
Focus on Knees

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Knee Patient Stories

Real life story

Told by Trevor Rice, Patient of the Droitwich Knee Clinic

Trevor Rice

Figure 1

In July 2004 whilst on a sailing holiday in Majorca, I tripped over and my left knee took the full impact of the fall. Little did I know of what was to follow as I was taken away on a stretcher. The consultant in the Spanish hospital told me that the fracture to my tibia was complex and went up into the knee joint. During the following five days different consultants arrived to look at my X-rays and a decision was taken to airlift me back to the UK.

Trevor before exchange to Sheffield Ring Fixator talking to Miles, (Read Miles' Story)

Upon arrival in the UK I had NHS emergency surgery, which included a fixator being fitted around my left knee, I was warned that I may not make a full recovery and may struggle to walk properly again, but that only time would tell. As the potential consequences of the accident were beginning to dawn on me I decided to seek expert advice and assistance, so in August 2004 I went to see Lesley Hall, physiotherapist at the Droitwich Knee Clinic.

At onset of treatment

Figure 2:
At onset of treatment

I arrived on crutches and was unable to either straighten or bend my left leg. Lesley was concerned about my condition and thankfully referred me to Mr El-Shazly. His diagnosis was one of several conditions that needed attention and suggested a course of action that would require the application of a Sheffield ring fixator. In September 2004 the original single fixator and brace were removed and replaced with two Sheffield ring fixators below the knee, a third ring was added above the knee in December 2004, which effectively locked my leg straight.

I wore the fixators for nine months during which I spent many weeks making very small incremental adjustments to the frames which in turn slowly altered the angle of my tibia in the knee joint. I was also required to make small adjustments to the rod behind my knee, which eventually straightened my leg. I had to clean and dress the pin sites every day to prevent infection and went to see Lesley several times a week where I spent many hours with weights hanging off my leg and doing a multitude of exercises.

I was unable to wear proper trousers so had a few special pairs made with a left leg that almost resembled a windsock! I spent every night sleeping on my back. Having a “scaffold” on my leg was without doubt a challenging time for me and my family, but I knew that Mr El-Shazly, Lesley and the rest of the DKC team were doing their best for me, equally I was determined to reward their efforts and do my bit to give myself the best chance of recovery.

Tibial deformity being fully corrected.

Figure 3: Tibial deformity being fully corrected.

My advice to others is that you have a major part to play in your own recovery; I established daily routines of rest and exercise and changed my diet to keep the weight off. Eventually we began to see progress, Mr El-Shazly slowly weakened the frames and I started to learn to walk again. He removed them completely in April 2005 after which I had intensive treatment with Lesley. Its now two years since my accident, I can walk properly without a limp, my leg is straight and I almost have full range of movement.

So in summary I can’t thank Mr El-Shazly, Lesley and the rest of the team at DKC enough, without their expertise I have no doubt that my life now would be very different.


Lesley Hall working with Trevor on extension of knee.

Figure 4: Lesley Hall working with Trevor on extension of knee with his old fixator on prior to exchange to a Sheffield Ring Fixator.

  Sheffield Ring Fixator in position, full weight bearing encouraged.

Figure 5: Sheffield Ring Fixator in position, full weight bearing encouraged.