Car crash victim who suffered with a limp for decades used a magnet to grow his leg three inches

I used a magnet to grow my leg three inches: Car crash victim who suffered with a limp for decades ditches his higher-heeled shoe thanks to the treatment administered by his wife

  • Chris Shanks, 67, from Brighton, was involved in a car crash at the age of 25
  • His right leg was broken below the knee and was left 2.7in shorter than the other
  • Doctors inserted rods that were stretched with a magnet twice a day for 70 days

When doctors told Chris Shanks he could grow his deformed leg back to its correct length with magnets, you’d have forgiven him for telling them to pull the other one.

But such is the wonder of modern technology that that is exactly what has happened.

The 67-year-old has suffered for decades after he was involved in a car crash at the age of 25 during which he was knocked unconscious and his right leg was badly broken below the knee.

The accident left his right leg 2.7in (7cm) shorter than the other and to minimise the resulting limp, he used walking poles and a higher-heeled shoe to get about.

But he can now go on hikes for the first time in 40 years thanks to twice-daily treatments – administered by his wife Jacqueline, 59.

Doctors have since inserted rods into his leg which have been gradually stretched with a large magnet over a period of 70 days. Pictured: After

 Chris Shanks was involved in a car crash at the age of 25 during which his right leg was badly broken below the knee. Doctors have since inserted rods into his leg which have been stretched with a magnet over a period of 70 days. Pictured: Before (left) and after (right)

Doctors inserted rods in his right leg, which she then gradually stretched by a total of 2.7in with a large magnet twice a day for 70 days.

Mr Shanks, a retired telecoms specialist from Brighton, can now walk several miles without the aid of poles or crutches and no longer needs his special shoes. 

He said: ‘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.’

The pioneering treatment for Mr Shanks began when his leg was rebroken and a metal rod inserted. 

The bar is designed to expand when stimulated by a magnet, which is where his wife came in. 

His leg was left 2.7in (7cm) shorter than the other and for many years he minimised the resulting limp by using walking poles and a higher-heeled shoe (pictured) to get about

His leg was left 2.7in (7cm) shorter than the other and for many years he minimised the resulting limp by using walking poles and a higher-heeled shoe (pictured) to get about

She performed the treatment twice daily for more than two months, during which the rod would stretch the leg a millimetre every 24 hours, allowing the growth of new bone.

Mr Shanks, who has been married for 33 years, said: ‘For the first time in maybe ten or 15 years I can walk without a stick. In the latter times I even had to use 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.

‘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.’

Since the operation he has also climbed a volcano while on holiday in the Canary Islands.

Mr Shanks’ treatment was carried out under the care of surgeon Enis Guryel at The Montefiore Hospital in Hove, East Sussex.