Pop Idols Zoe Birkett forced to undergo hip replacement for arthritis

Instructions for Osteoarthritis sufferers to massage pain spots

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Zoe Birkett, who was the most successful female on Pop Idol in 2002, has undergone a hip replacement to combat her osteoarthritis. The 37-year-old said going under the knife is “the best thing I’ve ever done” as she stands as one of the youngest people to undergo the emergency procedure.

Zoe was first diagnosed with severe osteoarthritis and had three pins put into her hip at aged just 13.

The pins were later removed, but after many years of performing, her pain got worse and underwent an MRI scan.

During the pandemic she learnt her osteoarthritis was severe and was told she had the hip of an 85-year-old.

Zoe told Express.co.uk that pain got so bad she couldn’t tie her own shoe laces and had to sleep with a pillow between her legs.

With this, Zoe was left with no choice but to replace the hip with a cemented titanium stem and hip socket.

“That was hard to take in at the time,” the singer admitted fearing her career could be over.

The mother-of-one also knew she needed to act fast when her back gave way during a short walk with her daughter in lockdown.

Thankfully for the former Pop Idol star all went well and she was able to start rehearsals for Moulin Rouge the Musical.

With a new hip, Zoe was able to perform at her best which included can-canning with no more pain.

She said: “Having the replacement is actually the best thing I’ve ever done and if I have to have it done again, I will straight away.

18 months on, Zoe is still living pain free and has no plans to stop being energetic.

“The moment I slow my body down my hip will start to slow down,” she added, noting that exercise was the best thing.

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Zoe has documented her health journey on her Instagram page in the hope of helping others of a similar age.

While initially apprehensive about sharing the depths of her journey, she has since reached new audiences of those at a similar age experiencing the same problem.

She spilled: “Since I’ve shared my story with so many people, I can’t believe it, kind of connected with my page now which was originally about music.

“So many more people now are like, ‘wow I’m so inspired by your story, I’m going through the same thing’.

“So many people who were dancers and performers have reached out.”

Zoe is proud to be an advocate for young sufferers of osteoarthritis after having no other case to compare it to ahead of her surgery.

The Pop Idol star said she only discovered people in their sixties who had undergone the procedure and no one of her age.

Osteoarthritis is commonly detected in those aged 45 and over. It’s the most common type of arthritis in the UK.

She added: “I’m extremely grateful to everyone at Chelsea Lister Hospital during my recovery and also the support and advice given by Arthritis Action, which gave me comfort in knowing I wasn’t alone and there are people going through the same issues I did.”

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