Phil, who lives in Knowle, broke his wrist in an accident as he cycled from Manchester University where he is studying for a Music Degree with piano as his specialist instrument.
“As soon as I was told it was broken I realised my studies might have to be put on hold– the big question was ‘for how long,” he explained.
The former student of Dorridge Music School and music teacher Peter Staite, was first treated in a Manchester where his wrist was put in plaster.
“I was told I needed to see a hand specialist but they couldn’t tell me when one would be available,” said Phil, “The best estimate was a couple of weeks but I was also warned it could be much longer.
“As a piano player my wrists are obviously very important so I really did want ‘expert help’ as soon as possible. I didn’t want to miss a great chunk of my studies but, most importantly, I didn’t want my wrist mending in a way that would affect my playing in years to come.”
Phil returned to his family home and, after carrying out extensive research, met with consultant orthopaedic surgeon Mr Gunaratnam Shyamalan, a specialist in hand and wrist surgery, at Spire Parkway Hospital in Solihull.
Mr Shyamalan explained “While the majority of wrist fractures can be managed with casts, Phil’s fracture pattern was in the actual wrist joint and because of that it was out of alignment.
“This meant the fracture was pushing on the tendons in his hand which would have affected the flexibility of the fingers– something very important to someone who plays the piano at such a high level.
“Using titanium plates and screws to realign the fracture meant we didn’t need the wrist to be in a cast for very long at all, which meant physiotherapy aimed at strengthening the joint could begin much earlier.”
Now back at the piano Phil, who takes a break from his more serious studies to perform in various bars around Manchester in the Not-Quite Big Band, says he is delighted he acted so quickly in getting treatment from Mr Shyamalan.
“It was important to get my wrist moving again as soon as possible. Because of the operation I was able to get rid of the cast at least a month ahead of normal schedule and, with help from the hospital’s physio Jane Wood, I was back practicing at the piano in no time at all.
“I only missed a month of playing, and I returned to my course much more quickly than I thought would be possible,” said Phil.