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Man breaks arm again after waiting six years for recovery

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Media captionA man who waited six years for his broken arm to heal has snapped it again - one week after it recovered.

A 50-year-old man who waited six years for his broken arm to heal has snapped it again - one week after it recovered.

In 2007, Tim Blackburn, from Stockton, fell off a ladder and broke his right arm in three places.

Broken arms are usually treated with a cast or a splint but Mr Blackburn is one of the 50,000 patients in the UK who find their bones do not heal with this method, according to Gavin De Kiewiet, a surgeon at Sunderland Royal Hospital.

After years of various treatments to help it heal, it was not until he began using an ultrasound device, recently approved by the NHS, that his arm recovered.

The Exogen ultrasound bone healing system was approved by the NHS in January.

It produces ultrasound waves which help healing by stimulating the production of growth factors and proteins which remove old bone and encourage new bone to be made, according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

In April Mr Blackburn was able to use his right arm without any pain for the first time in years.

"It was unbelievable, it was just a huge sense of relief," he said. "The feeling to move my arm without anything clicking, without anything giving me a sharp pain, just to move it, it's unbelievable."

'Snapped like a twig'

But his celebration was short-lived when, one week after being able to remove the device, he suffered another stroke of bad luck when he had an accident.

Image caption An ultrasound bone healing system was approved by the NHS in January

He said: "The dog got excited thinking he was going out and ran past me and I went over onto one side and hit the banister and the break was in the same place.

"It snapped like a twig, I knew straight away, it was excruciating."

Mr Blackburn said he will revert to using the ultrasound system to help mend his arm again and despite the setback, he said he will not be defeated.

"I look at it as if I'm going up a mountain, I nearly got to the top, but I fell back a bit [so] I'm brushing myself down and I'm getting back up there," he said.

"It's no good sitting around moping, I have to be optimistic, the only way is up", he laughed.

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