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Last Updated: Friday, 5 January 2007, 10:47 GMT
Celebrity Health - Bob Wilson
Bob Wilson
Bob Wilson has had both hips replaced
In a series on celebrities and their health, the BBC News website talks to former Arsenal goalkeeper and coach Bob Wilson about his osteoarthritis.

During his career with Arsenal, the London club completed the English league and FA Cup double in 1971.

In recent years, he has been a sports presenter on ITV and has also presented Grandstand, Sportsnight and Match of the Day for the BBC.

When he retired he concentrated on working for the Willow Foundation, a charity set up with his wife to give special days to seriously ill young adults. They set up the charity following the death of their daughter Anna.

HOW DID YOU FIRST REALISE SOMETHING WAS WRONG?

I was a footballer for 12 years and then a coach/manager, so I knew my body pretty well.

I was about 38/9 when I became aware of aches and pains in the joints, particularly in my knee. But it was the hips that became really affected.

It was only when the pain was keeping me awake at night that I decided it was time to do something

I did not want it to affect my coaching and it was only when the pain was keeping me awake at night that I decided it was time to do something.

I carried on for another few years after the first hip was replaced.

My surgeon said he did not like me kicking a ball. I just said jokingly 'well you can always do it again'.

But I do wonder if this will mean I have to have a second replacement in this right hip, because I did abuse it.

Very early on I had anti-inflammatories and I still continue to do this, because now it is my knee which is hurting.

HOW DID YOU GET DIAGNOSED?

I was X-rayed and they said that the cartilage had gone and it was bone on bone.

I had my first hip replaced in May 1999. The second one, my left, virtually collapsed in training and I literally fell over.

I had to have that operation brought forward by three months, so I ended up having two hip replacements in two years.

When the surgeon was choosing the type of hips he needed to give me, he said he would give me the hips of a body builder or a rugby player because I am a physical person.

It was a non-cement hip which takes longer to heal, but which will hopefully last longer.

It took about three to four days for the worst pain to subside and then I could think that I would never again have the sort of a toothachy pain that you get from joint problems.

WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION TO THE DIAGNOSIS?

I was not surprised, because from the time I was a kid I was a natural athlete. As well as my football, I played schoolboy county cricket, tennis and running.

I did sports when I was at Loughborough University and when I went into football at a professional level it was very physical.

One day our manager said to me 'do you know how many times you have hit the ground today?' I said I didn't and he said it had been at least 200 times.

He was very interested in the state of my hips and knees.

WHAT WAS YOUR TREATMENT?

The treatment I got was first class.

I had my operations at the Royal National Hospital, in Stanmore, which is a centre of excellence.

I got fantastic treatment and back-up.

HOW DID YOU FEEL DURING THE TREATMENT?

The surgeon did say the first replacement had been more difficult as that had been my take-off and kicking foot.

After I had the first replacement I did not start to think about playing golf for eight weeks, but after the second I was hitting golf balls after five-and-a-half weeks.

HOW DO YOU FEEL NOW?

I am an OAP this year so I do feel all my aches and pains.

All the areas where I have had serious injuries, and from my footballing there were a lot of these, hurt.

That is just the ageing process.

But as regards the hips they are terrific, although the right one does feel as though it might need re-doing.

I can still play golf, my problem now is my knees.

An operation like this totally changes your life

WHAT IS YOUR MESSAGE TO OTHER PEOPLE WITH THE SAME CONDITION?

Speak to other people who have had the operation and talk to them about how it has affected the quality of their lives.

People are scared, but don't be. Those guys (the surgeons) have tremendous skills and ability.


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