A 32-year-old woman with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, who was not able to walk for 18 years start walking after both her hips and knees were replaced with artificial joints by the Doctors at the Noble Hospital, Chennai.The software professional and working as an educator, teaching school children through internet from home, had been afflicted with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, a condition affecting hips, knees and ankles at the age of 15. Her elbows, wrists and fingers were also affected making it impossible for her to write. In spite of her disabilities she continued to study and qualified herself to become an educator. Now she can walk a few metres without assistance and climb 20 steps. She received help from a Bengaluru-based friend, whose chance search on the internet led him to orthopedic surgeon Dr V Singaravadivelu, at Noble Hospital, who said it was possible to replace all her joints and make her mobile again.The surgeon had earlier helped a 30-year-old man regain the use of his limbs after being wheelchair-bound for over 17 years. He performed these successful surgeries, but for her to stand the bones have to become strong and muscles have to be strengthened. He told her that she has to learn walking as if she was a newborn and may take years. It will require lot of effort, perseverance and confidence.During the course of the surgeries and rehabilitation, she broke her thigh bone, requiring another surgery. The bones were wafer thin and the muscles could not withstand gravity. Two years after surgery, she manages to climb 20 steps and walk a few metres without support. But it will be a long time before she can manage to walk long distances on her own, he said. She is very happy that she is able to walk after 18 years.