Man left with one leg shorter in car crash has it stretched using magnets
A Brighton pensioner with one leg shorter has had his leg stretched back to size with the help of magnets.
Chris Shanks, 67, was injured in a car crash as a youngster and ever since needed to walk with ski poles and a built-up shoe.
But he can now go on hikes for the first time in 40 years thanks to the twice daily treatments of his magnet-wielding wife Jacqueline, 59.
The pioneering treatment began with doctors inserted rods in his leg which where then gradually stretched 7cm with a large magnet twice a day over 70 days.
The treatment wasn't easy because the magnet weighed the same as a bag of coal.
Retired telecoms specialist Chris can now walk several miles without the aid of poles or crutches and no longer needs special shoes.
He now also feels comfortable wearing shorts for the first time in nearly 40 years which he is delighted about.
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Chris, from Brighton, Sussex, said: "It didn't really hurt, it was more of a tingling sensation. But you do get some discomfort.
"I was on crutches as you couldn't put the full weight on.
"After the original accident my leg was shorter and deformed. I couldn't run and I couldn't play football, which I did before.
"As I started to get older – because my geometry was off – I began walking funny to compensate. I started getting a lot of pain.
"That was stopping me more and more.
"I went and saw various surgeons and the procedure was suggested.
"They thought that if I didn't have it done I would end up in a wheelchair anyway.
"I was walking slower and slower – I was being overtaken by people who were 90.
"It's really pioneering [treatment]. They made a 3D print of my lower leg. It's very unusual to do it on someone so old."
Chris was severely injured when his car collided with a truck as a 25-year-old – throwing him out and into the path of an oncoming vehicle.
He was knocked unconscious and his right leg was badly broken below the knee during the smash.
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It left the limb deformed and 7cm shorter than the other, meaning he needed a built-up heel in his shoe to minimise a limp.
But amazing therapy has now extended his injured leg by two and three quarter inches – which involved his partner running a magnet over him twice daily for 70 days.
He began having treatment in 2016 when his leg was rebroken and a metal rod inserted.
The bar was specifically designed to expand when stimulated by a magnet – which is where his wife Jacqueline, 59, came in.
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She would run the magnet, which weighed twice as much as a sack of coal, up and down his leg twice a day.
This happened for more than two months, during which it would stretch the bone a millimetre every 24 hours.
Chris said: "For the first time in maybe 10 or 15 years I can walk without a stick. In the latter times I even had to use Nordic walking poles.
"I can go into Brighton now without any sticks or anything. I can do about four or five miles.
"It really has changed my life for the better. I don't need to buy built-up shoes.
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"It was always awkward wearing shorts before but now I can. It's rather more comfortable in the summer.
"I could also never even stand up long enough to put my trousers on – which I can do now."
He has also climbed a volcano since the operation, while on holiday in the Canary Islands.
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Chris' treatment was carried out under the care of surgeon Enis Guryel at The Montefiore Hospital in Hove, East Sussex.
He has been married to Jacqueline for 33 years.
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