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Research Improves Lives #MyMSKStory

  • Posted by Paolo,
  • Engagement & Involvement Specialist,
  • in Listen up,
  • October '21

Data and dog walking

This guest blog was written by Mike as part of #MyMSKStory, a social media campaign to raise awareness of musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions and research. Follow @letsgetvocal on Twitter and Facebook to find out more.

I originally studied maths and computer science at university, before working for 8 years as a data analyst for a local authority. I was really happy to join the Centre for Musculoskeletal Research at the University of Manchester in 2014 because I wanted to use my understanding of data science to help improve the lives of people with musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions, such as osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is a painful condition affecting joints such as hips and knees which can make it difficult to move around and can have a significant impact on people’s lives.

I am currently working on a research project looking at outcomes following hip and knee replacement surgery. Using large databases of anonymous data collected by the NHS, we will provide new information to help people living with osteoarthritis and healthcare professionals in deciding the best treatment available.

A close up of an open eye with numbers justaxposed onto it
I use anonymous data from the NHS to improve the lives of people with MSK conditions

Being able to contribute to our understanding of musculoskeletal conditions to improve patient care is important to me because I understand the impact these conditions can have on people’s lives.

My grandmother has advanced osteoarthritis. She used to enjoy going out shopping, visiting family, and walking her dog. However, her condition made it increasingly difficult to do these things. She said to me recently that she would love to be able to take her dog for a walk.

In the 1960s, there was a revolutionary development in the treatment of osteoarthritis, when Professor Sir John Charnley pioneered hip replacement surgery at Wrightington Hospital in Lancashire. During hip replacement surgery, the damaged hip joint is replaced with an artificial joint.

A small dog in a garden with the owner's legs visible
My grandmother loves to walk her dog

Most people who have hip replacement surgery experience a significant improvement in pain and mobility, making hip replacement surgery a remarkably successful intervention which has benefitted millions of people around the world. I believe that this shows that through continuous research, we can improve our understanding of musculoskeletal health and improve the lives of people living with these conditions.

My grandmother recently had hip replacement surgery and soon hopes to be able to continue to enjoy things that are important to her, like taking her dog for a walk.

A picture of an artificial hip in metal
Hip replacement surgery revolutionised the treatment of osteoarthritis

Interested in involving people in your research?

Get in touch with Vocal’s friendly Musculoskeletal Research User Network and #GetVocal