UCL Division of Surgery and Interventional Science


Actor Sylvester McCoy helps UCL teach patients about ankle arthritis.

17 September 2014

Even a Time Lord suffers wear and tear over the years, just like the rest of us.  After many years playing a huge variety of roles including Dr Who and a wizard in the recent worldwide hit film The Hobbit, actor Sylvester McCoy’s past caught up with him:  “As an actor I would tumble downstairs or fall out of windows for a laugh, not realising that years later I would suffer for it”.  However, he is not alone. In the UK more than 30,000 patients each year suffer from pain, stiffness and a reduced quality of life as a result of arthritis of the ankle.

A new trial being run by UCL and the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (RNOH) in Stanmore is comparing two surgical treatments for ankle arthritis. The trial, known as the TARVA trial is comparing Total Ankle Replacement against ankle Arthrodesis for patients with ankle arthritis aged between 50 and 85.

As part of the trail,  RNOH has for the first time in the UK, created a professional video to improve engagement of patients and their understanding of the trial and improve trial recruitment.  Patients will be shown the video at the screening stage, when they are invited to join the trial, and will also be able to access it through the trial’s website (http://anklearthritis.co.uk). 

“We believe that the video will improve communication with patients and provide them for the first time, consistent information in an easy to understand and clear way” Said Andy Goldberg, Orthopaedic Surgeon, and Chief Investigator on the TARVA trial.

Claire Thompson, UCL CTU, TARVA trial manager says “This video has had excellent patient feedback and is an example of how public involvement has been embedded into our research.”


  1. The video can be viewed on You Tube : http://youtu.be/VTzOS5dRhm4
  2. The Tarva Trial (www.anklarthritis.co.uk) will cost close to £2m and is funded by the NHS NIHR HTA programme. The trial is being run by UCL Comprehensive Clinical Trials Unit, in conjunction with 16 centres of excellence across the country and hopes to recruit 330 patients
  3. The RNOH is the largest specialist orthopaedic hospital in the UK and is regarded as a leader in the field of orthopaedics. The Trust provides a comprehensive and unique range of neuro-musculoskeletal healthcare, ranging from acute spinal injuries to orthopaedic medicine and specialist rehabilitation for chronic back pain sufferers.
  4. The UCL Institute of Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Science (IOMS) has an international reputation and a track record for innovative translational research and is part of UCL, the world’s fourth highest ranking University.