Osteoarthritis can be a limiting condition for anyone but when you enjoy outdoor pursuits it can be particularly debilitating. 77 year-old avid golfer, Robert Afia, knows this only too well after suffering from both hip and knee arthritis. However, following two successful operations carried out by Mr Robert Marston at St John and St Elizabeth Hospital, he is now playing for Britain’s over 75’s in the European Team Championships this year.
Walking the fairway
Contrary to the old quip that ‘golf is a good walk spoiled,’ before his operations, Robert might well have argued that walking was spoiling a good game of golf.
He says, “It wasn’t a problem when I was just sitting but both my hip and knee were a pain when I was walking and playing golf. It was mainly the walking, the golf was alright but the walking between shots became very difficult.”
Robert had a partial Oxford Knee replacement and a full hip replacement. And while they are both major operations he returned to the golf course within a month.
Robert says, “I started playing golf about three weeks after my knee operation and about four weeks after my hip operation. I started very gingerly, building up slowly.”
Playing for Britain
Robert had a golf handicap of one at the age of 19 but he stopped playing through most of his working years. Despite the long gap and the osteoarthritis, he now plays at seven handicap and has joined the UK Senior Golf Association which is scratch golf for the over 55s. And he occasionally ‘beats his age’, which is unusual – last year he had a round of 73, beating his age by 3.
Robert says, “By dint of my scores last year I’ve qualified to play for Britain in the European Team Championships. Four of us are playing in the Super Masters (75+) team trophy competition over three rounds on the Basel Golf and Country Club and the Golf du Rhin Chalampé.”
Staying in shape with Pilates
As well as the success of the operations, Robert believes Pilates has been key to his golfing success.
“I’ve been doing Pilates for about 18 years because I have back problems and I think its focus on maintaining flexibility and core strength have been key to playing golf into my late 70s to a decent standard. I can still hit the ball 250 yards and I don’t know anybody else in my age group who can do that.”
Robert is not only a keen golfer, he also used to fly – using a plane he built himself no less! While the osteoarthritis in his knee and hip didn’t affect his ability to fly, the success of the operations meant he was back up in the air in no time.
“After the operations it was mandatory to have a medical check up with an authorised examiner to ensure I was capable of flying but that was no problem and after 6 weeks I was flying again.”
Following both operations Robert’s knee and hip have been pain free. He says, “It’s absolutely fine. My knee is a little bit stiff but it’s strong and fine and when it comes to my hip it’s like nothing has happened at all, it’s marvellous. I have nothing but praise for Mr Marston and St John’s and St Elizabeth’s as a whole.”
If you would like to book an appointment with Mr Robert Marston please call on 020 7432 8328 or email firstname.lastname@example.org