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Hello <<First Name>>  Rosemary Conley CBE

As we welcome every birthday with gratitude, so too must we appreciate every day that we are able to walk around on two limbs in relative comfort. 
We have discussed on various occasions the devastating repercussions of having a fall and, sadly, as we age falling can be all the more common. Only recently Sir Elton John, now 74, fell badly on a hard surface which has left one of his hips in severe pain, so much so that he now requires surgery. As a result of this he has had to postpone his upcoming 2021 UK and European tour which is now rescheduled for 2023.
Whether, like Elton John, we similarly fall or we find ourselves needing hip, knee, or ankle replacements because of wear and tear, undergoing an operation is a serious business. We will be incapacitated for a length of time and, undoubtedly, it will cause a major disruption to our life and to those around us.
Both Mary Morris, (co-writer of this Newsletter), and I have experience of orthopaedic surgery and we have seen with our own eyes the huge benefits of preparing for surgery and undertaking physiotherapy afterwards. As Professor Noel Fitzpatrick often says in his TV series Supervet, ‘I do the mechanical part of the repair but that is only 50% of the solution. The other 50% is the physiotherapy you do following the operation.’

When we created this website earlier this year, we were determined to emphasise the importance of maximising the benefits of remedial surgery by interviewing an orthopaedic surgeon and physiotherapists. I am sure you will find the following interviews interesting and enlightening - if not for you, perhaps for an elderly relative.

Preparing for Surgery – Physiotherapist Judith Pitt-Brooke
Preparing for Surgery – Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon Mr Maneesh Bhatia
Preparing for Hip Surgery  Preparing for Knee Surgery  Preparing for Foot Surgery
Surgery and Physio - The Secret of Success
Meet Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Mr Maneesh Bhatia

Recipe of the Week

Rich Red Lentil Soup (v)

This is a really easy cook-in-the-pan tasty soup which is high in fibre and utterly delicious. You can make it in advance and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Suitable for freezing prior to adding the yoghurt.

Serves 4
Per serving 254 calories 1.3g fat
Prep 20 minutes
Cook 25 minutes
Suitable for freezing

1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon ground cumin
175g dried red lentils
1 litre vegetable stock (use two vegetable stock pots or cubes)
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons live yogurt

  1. Spray a large non-stick saucepan or frying pan with rapeseed oil spray and dry-fry the onion until soft.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients except the yogurt and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes until the lentils are soft.
  3. Allow to cool slightly then blend with a stick blender or purée in a food processor. Thin the soup down with a little extra vegetable stock or water if necessary.
  4. Reheat in a saucepan as required. Just before serving, remove from the heat, stir in the yogurt and season to taste with black pepper.
  5. Serve immediately.
If intending to freeze do so prior to adding the yoghurt.
For more recipes click here to visit the website
Royal Visit to Leicestershire

Last week, in my role as a Deputy Lieutenant, I had the privilege of representing the Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire to host a visit by HRH The Duke of Gloucester to our county. His Royal Highness was very charming and most engaged with the locations we visited.

After visiting The 1620s House and Garden which is a Manor House steeped in history in the delightful village of Donington le Heath, we moved on to a charity called Canine Partners at nearby Osgathorpe, a charity of which The Duke is Patron.

Here, dogs are specially trained according to the individual needs of adults who live with physical disabilities. Having spoken to many of those who benefit from having such a special dog, I soon learned how lives can be transformed by these wonderful canine partners.

It was truly a memorable and wonderful day and my feet have only just recovered from wearing high heels for four hours!
Fun, Facts & Fitness from Mary Morris MSc.

If you listen to a group of older people having a chat together you will almost certainly hear lots of complaints about joint pain and discomfort, and how it limits their ability to do the things they want to do in their later years.  Joint degeneration is a common factor of ageing and if you are also carrying excess weight there is a pressure on joints which can lead to serious disability and impact on you being able to be active enough to keep fit and healthy.  That's why I call our legs our 'big engines'. Our leg fitness is dramatically important because if they cannot be regularly used then the entire rest of our body will suffer, particularly our heart and lungs.

My own experience of a replacement for the hip was at the relatively young age of 54 and was due mainly to wear and tear caused by the trend for high impact aerobics in the ‘70s and early ‘80s.  My working life as a fitness instructor meant I did a lot more than the average person!  My hip replacement was over 17 years’ ago and it has been a remarkable success, mainly because I 'manage' it well, knowing when to give it some rest.  My husband’s three joint replacements in eight months (two knees and a hip!) was initially due to a rugby injury and so, combining that with now being older, his everyday life became severely restricted. Due to all this experience, I feel I am therefore quite an expert on how best to recover from joint surgery and how to help you look forward to regaining a full and active life.

Tips for recovery from joint surgery:

  • Immediately following surgery follow all the advice given by both the surgeon and the physiotherapist to the letter!  Realise that the procedure inevitably causes a lot of trauma to the surrounding soft tissue and it must be given the chance to heal properly.
  • Physiotherapy is vital and start it as soon as the physio tells you to. I am the first to recognise that three times a day (as is recommended) is a challenge, but I firmly believe that is why my husband’s recovery has been meteoric! It will feel tedious and boring as it means repeating the same movements over and over but gradually you start to see the improvement in mobility and a regaining of strength.
  • Use painkillers wisely.  You may dislike using them, as many of us do, but they will enable you to do the physio exercises without so much discomfort that it discourages you from doing them!  The joint is new and stable so cannot be damaged once the first month or so is over.  You have to learn to work with the pain.
  • After 3 months (or 100 days) you can do anything you like and you cannot damage your new joint.  Of course, this is within reason, but the chances are you will be doing a lot more than you did before the surgery.
  • Have a goal.  Maybe it is a holiday or event to look forward to or a particular sport or activity you want to get back to. Whatever it is let it motivate you to stick to the physiotherapy. Physiotherapy is absolutely key to the success of the operation.
  • Be determined and persevere. Seriously, you will struggle to recover if you sit too much and expect it to heal itself. If you do sit too much your recovery will be seriously compromised.

 And if you are waiting for joint surgery:

  • You will help yourself enormously if you get as fit and as strong as possible before the operation.  Try our Chair Workouts on our website and see how much you can manage. Anything is better than nothing.
  • Watch the appropriate videos: Preparing for Hip Surgery, Preparing for Knee Surgery, Preparing for Foot Surgery.
  • Take the advice from the hospital regarding pre-surgery and follow it.
  • If you are overweight, work really hard to lose weight before surgery.  It will pay enormous dividends post-op.


  1. Do the Seated Warm Up before each workout then do either Seated Aerobics or Seated Strength Workout 3 times this week.  They offer a full and comprehensive programme of gentle cardio, strength work and stretching.
  2. Walk every day.  If your joints restrict you from being able to walk for 30 minutes then split it into 3 blocks of 10 minutes.  It all counts! I know we keep saying it but it is your best exercise!
  3. Try something new this week or something you have not done for a long time.  A swim for example or get that bike out of the shed! Swimming and cycling are non-impact activities that may be more comfortable for you to do if you have joint problems. If you don’t have any joint problems, these are fabulous forms of exercise anyway!
  4. Work on your balance.  Every day this week stand on one leg for up to 30 seconds on each leg. It is the very best way to prevent yourself from having a fall. For more exercises to improve your balance have a look at Balance Exercises.

If you are experiencing foot/knee/hip issues and waiting for surgery, practise balancing on your good leg so that when you do undergo surgery you will be well prepared to balance on it and it will be a stronger leg to support you whilst your operated leg is recovering.


And Finally...

So, the moral of this Newsletter is to learn to appreciate your pain-free legs if you have them and to make the most of them this week!  On the other hand, if you suffer pain in your feet/legs/hips, please don’t give up on them and do nothing. Think positive and try to stay as fit as you possibly can with the exercises we offer you.

Have a great week!

With love and best wishes,

Rosemary Conley CBE DL


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