Gemma Chatterton

Gemma was diagnosed with Charcot Foot in December 2018. This inflammatory disease affects the bones, muscles and tendons in the foot. They become so weak, the bones break and her foot eventually became deformed. Gemma wore a cast for 6 months followed by a moon boot for 15 months. By then, she was walking with a habitual limp and had lost all her strength, balance and flexibility.

“It was really impacting my day to day life, in terms of personal care, cleaning, cooking and my previous hobbies were now not allowed so it had completely shattered my confidence and self esteem too.”

Read Gemma’s incredible journey thus far below…

Q – When you were searching where to go, what made The Pilates Klinik stand out for you?

I went to a local Physio for help with walking, and balance and she started to use the reformer there, and I instantly felt better after 20 minutes. She suggested I start Pilates and her recommendation was The Pilates Klinik as she’d heard amazing things about you!

Q – What was the obstacle/s that almost prevented you from starting? What sold you on jumping in and joining as a member? 
I was so worried about judgment from others and put it off for so long but when I saw the offer after Christmas in 2020 for a private, I pushed myself to go. I had over 18 months of private lessons, and brought my daughter too. Slowly, bit by bit, I got stronger. I couldn’t even do footwork with 3 reds, I think I started with 2 reds and that was hard, and I certainly couldn’t do single leg work! My daughter and I loved it, and with the help of the instructors, finally felt confident enough to go into classes in August 2021. I keep my boots on for stability and support during classes, and at first I was really self conscious of this.
Q – What have you been able to achieve since starting? What improvements have you noticed?
Oh wow, well, my life has changed completely! Many people don’t even realise I have foot problems. I’m able to walk further, have far more balance, in fact I can do roll downs now and never used it have the balance to do that. I can pick things up from the floor I’ve dropped, I can clean (boo hoo!) and my whole attitude has changed. It’s now “how” will I do this, not “can” I do this. Pilates has been an absolute life changer!!

Q – What has exceeded your expectations since joining? 

The complete non-judgment from others! The focus is on you and your journey and what you “can do” not what you can’t. The instructors are always thinking of ways I can still do the same exercise, and the support from the others in the class is awesome. The first time I put my feet in straps by myself, the instructor got everyone to clap me!! I still remember one of my first classes with Michael, who stood next to me and helped me get in the right place on the reformer because in his words “you can do it, and you will, and I’m here to help” Pilates has changed my confidence, changed my mindset and my life!
Q – What about our business surprised you the most?
The support from everyone. The emphasis on your own personal journey, not what you can do when you first walk in. I love that we are all shapes and sizes, ages and abilities and no-one feels out of place or judged.
Q – What is your favourite exercise or movement and why? 
Oh wow, too many to mention. I think anything core related, as I see the most improvement there and that makes me smile. I was so weak when I started, I did daily toe taps to build my core strength. Also with big clunky shoes, I get an extra workout with feet in table top!
Q – What is your least favourite exercise or movement and why? 
Scooters and lunges (sorry Meghan!) I still worry about weight going through just my left leg, plus I’m much weaker on that side. It’s definitely a mind over matter thing, and I have to really push myself to focus on why I’m doing that, and that usually gets me throug

Q – What was it about your Pilates practice you wish you had known in the beginning?

Don’t worry about what you can’t do, focus on what you can. There’s always an adaptation to any move! Plus no one else notices anyway, they’re too busy concentrating on their own journey.
Q – What advice would you give to someone just starting their own Pilates practice as a new member at The Klinik?
To quote Nike, Just do it! Seriously, speak to the instructors, they will adapt anything for you. Smile at your classmates, they may be able to do these moves now, but I bet they couldn’t to start with. They’ve probably been on a similar journey to you, you just don’t know!

“I started with 1 private a week, and struggled most weeks. I joined classes just with the instructors I knew as I was nervous about people who didn’t understand me. Now, I’ll do any class with any instructor; including the tower ones, and this year I’ve changed to Gold membership and aim to do 3 classes plus 1 feel good every week.”


“If I can do this, with my silly foot, everyone else can! Thank you to everyone at The Pilates Klinik, I’m not sure you all know how much you’ve changed my life!”