Roger rides the crest of a wave after ankle op

07 November 2017


Estate agent Roger Shoesmith is enjoying watersports and walking his dog again after pioneering ankle surgery.

A few months ago the 64 year-old from Rhosneigr on Anglesey was crippled with osteoarthritis and could barely walk along the beautiful coast line on his doorstep.

He was destined to spend the rest of his life on painkillers until he heard about the ankle-fusing operation - arthroscopic arthrodesis - carried out at Spire Yale Hospital in Wrexham.

The procedure was performed by renowned foot and ankle surgeon Mr Nilesh Makwana and after a swift recovery Roger has returned to riding the waves as a kitesurfer.

His white terrier dog Mini Pumphrey – named after a character in the TV series All Creatures Great and Small – is also reaping the benefits of long walks again.

Roger said: “I used to play with Manchester Rugby Club and broke my right ankle in my 20s and again in my 30s.

“I recovered and thought nothing of it for years until my ankle started to play up in the spring and I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis due to the earlier trauma.

“We bought the house on the beach because I’m so passionate about kitesurfing and seeing people out there enjoying the sea made me determined to do something about my condition.

“I wasn’t prepared to stay on painkillers and not do the things I enjoy and saw Mr Makwana who was great at explaining what the procedure entailed.

“It was two and a quarter hours of keyhole surgery which involved fusing bone in my lower tibia to the ankle joint. To me the result was nothing short of a miracle.”

After six weeks in plaster and then a further five in an air cast boot, Roger was “set free” and back to his old self running the village estate agency.

“It’s like magic,” he said. “I’m pain free and have most of my ankle flexibility back. It worked wonders for me and I’m glad to raise awareness and give other people hope.”

Formerly from Manchester, the property developer turned estate agent loves life in the coastal resort renowned for watersports.

He played rugby from the age of 18 to 50 and has always been a keen sportsman.

He added: “I believe the sea air and wonderful views have a lot to do with promoting wellbeing and have certainly aided my recovery.

“I would highly recommend this surgery to anyone suffering like I was.”

Mr Makwana is a leading authority on the procedure and advises medics nationally and internationally on complex foot and ankle surgery.

Alongside his role at Spire Yale Hospital, he trains junior doctors in the NHS and is involved in ground-breaking surgery using cartilage grown in a laboratory to repair cartilage injuries.

He said: “Ankle fusion has been around for 20 or more years and used to be a major procedure.

“Thanks to technological advances, it is now performed as keyhole surgery allowing patients to be up and about much quicker.”

Born in Nairobi and brought up in Birmingham from a small child, the dad of four boys aged eight to 19 lives in Wrexham.

Away from operating theatre, he is a keen golfer and understands the impact lack of mobility has on previously active people.

He said: “Restoring people back to a level of function where they can be themselves again offers me a wonderful sense of achievement.

“It can be anything from mountain climbing to simply walking.  Sometimes patients have been housebound and it’s rewarding when they write to me after an operation to say they are no longer dependent and are enjoying life again.”

To find out more about Mr Makwana, or call 01978 268035 to book a consultation.


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