JOCKEY Michael Walker has revealed the gruesome surgery he underwent after his leg 'exploded'.
The top Kiwi rider was rushed to hospital after what he thought was an innocuous fall at Pakenham racecourse in Australia last May.
Walker was kicked in the calf by a horse a split second after hitting the deck, breaking his leg.
But much worse was to come as he developed compartment syndrome – an excruciating condition characterised by restricted blood flow, which can lead to amputation.
Docs were left with no choice but to slice open his leg to relieve the pressure.
Walker documented the stomach-churning procedure – which needed 58 stitches in all to put his limb back together.
The 25-time Group 1-winning jockey told racing.com: "Doctors made 15cm incisions on each side of my leg.
"They cut open each side to release the pressure. They actually stapled my skin back to my leg to keep the skin down. You can see the little steel staples around the edge.
"The black stuff, that's inside my leg, that's all blood. That's all the pressure that was built up inside."
Explaining how it all came about, Walker, 37, added: "That fall was the easiest fall I ever had in my career.
"I remember I was up in the air, about to come down on the ground, and I thought, 'I've never fallen on a synthetic [track], I wonder what it will feel like'.
"My feet planted on the ground, but then the horse's back leg came through and kicked me in the calf.
"That's what did the damage. It made everything inside my calf explode.
"It's like a balloon, when you put air in it it keeps expanding. It's the same with a leg… but your leg's not going to pop.
"I was telling doctors, 'just chop my leg off'. That's how much pain I was in. I was prepared to lose a leg."
Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Michelle Payne was warned the same could happen to her, after she got kicked in the face by a horse.
Walker had three ops in five days to save his leg – but now needs a full ACL and MCL reconstruction.
The jockey, who has won more than £30million during his career, is booked in for surgery on August 7.
Walker, who has previously had a hip replacement, said: "It is what it is, if I’ve got to get it done, I’ve got to get it done, I want to give myself the best chance of riding again."
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