We are very fortunate and proud at Springbank Clinic to be able to offer a wealth of experience in treating and managing sports injuries (most of our practitioners participate in sporting events and activities and can therefore draw on their own personal experience of sports related injuries when treating patients.) Our team of therapists compete at high levels of varied, age-group competition:
RICHARD PUXTY (SPORTS MASSAGE) was an international Triathlete and more recently has completed the Nice Iron Man Triathlon. He is a regular cyclist and a Coaching Assistant at Tonbridge Athletics Club. His son, James, is one of the leading U17 runners in the country, recently running the fastest legs at both the South of England and the National Road relays.
CATHERINE ALEXANDER (SPORTS MASSAGE) has been involved in various sports including running, but her main sport is diving, which she coaches in Tunbridge Wells.
MARK PITCAIRN-KNOWLES (OSTEOPATH) is a competitive runner and was part of the Tonbridge Athletics Men’s 50 team which won a gold medal in the South of England Road Relays at Bedford in October last year. By his own admission, he is competitive and always looking for PB’s or age group positions in races. However, although driven by these goals, he appreciates that other people have different reasons for taking part in sport – be it for social, mental/physical health or medical reasons – and he is therefore very supportive of whatever the aim. Mark has been assisting coaching at Tonbridge Athletics Club (15-18 year olds) and recently completed an Athletics Assistant Coaching Course. He has also enjoyed playing tennis, triathlons, skiing and golf over the last 20 years, having played both rugby and cricket before that. Therapists are not immune to injury and Mark has had his fair share of injuries, but always ensures he uses these as a learning experience within his profession.
DR LINDSAY GORRILL (CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST) has taken part in several marathons and half marathons over recent years. She has a good understanding of the psychological obstacles involved in doing exercise.
HARRIET HEAL (CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST) is also a regular athlete who set up the “Up and Running” group (along with Shona Campbell http://www.shonasrunners.co.uk/home/4575760389l ) whose aim is to use running as a tool to help with mental health issues.
KELLY CLEWS AND RICHARD LANG (PODIATRISTS) are on hand to keep your feet in good health as they tend to be involved with most sports. They can deal with skin and nail problems, as well as mechanical issues. They use Laser, Microwave and manual techniques, as well as a scanner to assess your feet for bespoke orthotic designs.
RENATE BLACKER (ACUPUNCTURIST) is a talented runner and cyclist. She often comes first within her age group in running races, despite having to manage a long-term knee condition and is a regular in the Kent Fitness League. She also takes part in long distance cycling trips in the UK and other parts of Europe.
The key to treating any sports injury is understanding the needs of the athlete, the mechanics of the injury and the mechanical limitations of the individual and the experience in recognising what is not ‘right’ and needs further investigation.
Often therapists will try to completely change the mechanics of an athlete to perfect them, but what is perfect? We are all different shapes and sizes. An athlete may not have imperfect form but may also have been symptom free for many years, so the need is to understand what has changed to cause the injury. This may be nothing to do with the mechanics but could be a lifestyle change (job, commute, etc.) or perhaps a shift of training emphasis to distance or speed. Age is a significant factor to consider before deciding whether to interfere with the mechanics. A recent case was that of a teenager who, after being made to change his running technique due to some knee pain, gained a stress fracture of the femur: Was this significant in the injury process? Both younger and older athletes yield to a shape and we need to make sure that this shape works and functions without specific stress on any one part.
We hope that the years of sports-related involvement across our whole team enables us to recognise, treat and empathise much more readily with those injuries experienced by our patients. And we hope it reassures our patients that our knowledge is drawn not only from professional expertise but also from personal experience.