Get to Know Turab Syed, Consultant

Meet Turab Syed, an orthopaedic surgeon committed to transforming patient care. With experience working with the England football team, we ask him for valuable insights into injury prevention and recovery.

##Get to Know## Turab Syed, Consultant

What inspired you to become an orthopaedic surgeon?

I initially wanted to do cardiology but I found I was getting frustrated at the long processes endured within this specialty. My deputy dean suggested I would be better suited to surgery as it would allow me to have more control over the outcomes for patients.

Through orthopaedic surgery I have a tangible impact on patients’ lives. Arthritis and orthopaedic injuries are life-changing: they can stop you from working, exercising or even socialising. I love being able to give someone their quality of life back by putting my research and training into practice. It’s truly rewarding.

How important is research for you and your job?

I always knew I wanted to do something research or science-related. However I am quite results-oriented and I worried pure science would not allow me to translate my work into action.

There is a lot more to surgery than the operations themselves - as surgeons, we need to keep on top of the latest research and also learn to carry it out. One of the best things about being a surgeon is being able to apply research in the real world.

This is something I am very passionate about and I am lucky enough to have been invited to deliver over ninety presentations at scientific meetings.


It is incredibly gratifying to see other surgeons make use of your research or innovation - that is when you know you have tapped into something worthwhile that will help a lot of patients. One example is a new treatment I pioneered when working in Jersey for patients who require their fingers straightened. An injection given in the clinic melts the cord in the finger, making it easier to straighten the next day. The result is that patients no longer require surgery under anaesthetic.

The best innovations are ones that improve the outcome for patients and this goal has always driven me to be a keen early adopter. Of course, it is also important to maintain a pragmatic, risk-based approach rather than simply embracing every new technique or fad.

What is your approach with patients?

I want to guide every single patient through their entire healing process, not just the surgery. Ultimately if you are my patient you are my responsibility until you are fit and happy again - it doesn’t stop when the surgery is over.

This means being open and honest, and setting expectations. Telling patients what the journey typically looks like and what could go wrong, means they are better prepared and more likely to engage with the recovery process. It keeps them motivated if problems occur because they are struck with few surprises. I am someone who runs towards problems and complications, not away from them, because I believe that is how you best learn to solve them.

Meet Turab Syed

Turab is an award-winning consultant orthopaedic surgeon specialising in hip, knee, and foot & ankle conditions and procedures.


What inspired you to join the Medbelle network?

In part it was due to my love of technology and being an early adopter. I joined the Medbelle network in 2022 because I am always interested in improving the care of my patients. In healthcare, there are many opportunities for working more efficiently that aren’t yet available. Medbelle provides medical management software with time-saving tools such as letter dictation. Surprisingly, these things aren’t standard in the industry and in the past I have ended up paying out of my own pocket for letter dictation because I didn’t want my patients to wait two weeks to receive updates or important information.

And how have you found it so far?

I find it hugely valuable that patients have one central point of contact at Medbelle. While I’m in surgery and unreachable, the Medbelle Patient Care Advisers can still get in touch with my practice manager and keep things moving for my other patients. This has reduced delays and made life easier for my patients, who now have one person always available to answer their questions.

From a surgeon’s perspective, I feel better compensated for my work, and I appreciate that my Partnerships Manager, Niall, is always open to feedback and suggestions. Working with Medbelle feels collaborative.

You have some experience with the England football team - what was that like?


Yes, I have a Masters in Sports and Exercise Medicine, and worked with the England C Team as well as the MK Dons and England Cross Country Athletics.

I was the team doctor for the England team, which meant going with the squad on tour to places such as Albania, Malta and Poland. My role was much more than treating injuries - I was also responsible for their nutrition, making sure players were match fit, as well as providing any treatments needed during a game. If a player needed surgery after an injury, I would make the appropriate recommendations to their club doctor. I was permanently on call and travelled with the team in case anyone became ill. It was really enjoyable and rewarding and I use the experience I gained for my current patients, even though I no longer work exclusively with professional athletes.

Do you have any tips on how casual players can reduce the risk of injury?

Warming up and stretching is vital. The squad physio and I would always guide the team through their warm-up techniques to make sure they were thoroughly ready to take to the field. Even if you’re not a professional, your body is going through similar stresses and strains, and you should always be warming up and stretching before a casual kickaround.


Another thing to consider is diet. We would meticulously plan meals and make sure players were getting the right balance of carbs and protein before and during games. We ensured they stayed hydrated too by monitoring their urine. Most of us often don’t realise when we’re dehydrated, especially in winter. As a casual player you do not need to be quite so intense but keeping proper diet and hydration in mind will help your body deal with strains, and repair tears or injuries.

One other thing people often neglect is footwear. I would recommend changing footwear after around 400 miles as this is the point at which it loses flexibility and can increase the risk of injury. These days smart watches and running apps make this easier than ever to keep track of.

Do you have any advice on players recovering from injuries who want to get back to playing as soon as possible?

People who love sports are always very motivated and proactive, they want to get back to the pitch as soon as possible. But nature doesn’t care - it takes as long as it takes and rushing back risks a much longer recovery time.

Of course, recovery time isn’t set in stone and it varies for everyone. As people get older, the healing process takes longer but other factors also have an impact, whether that’s diabetes or smoking. It’s a really individual process, which is why it is so important to work with and listen to specialists like physios and surgeons who will advise you based on your individual body and fitness.

As a surgeon our role in recovery is about expectation management. As a rule of thumb, most procedures I carry out require around six weeks of recovery, but this will vary for everyone. It also depends on the procedure - the further away from the heart, the longer the recovery will take.

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