• Allied Health Research Unit

    sports physiotherapy

The Allied Health Research Unit is led by Professor Jim Richards. Its mission is to increase our understanding of allied health practice and improve the quality of life of patients treated by allied health professionals. It pursues these goals by performing basic and applied research, and by developing new techniques in the assessment of musculoskeletal and neurological conditions.

The focus is on research across the health care professions to help answer important and clinically relevant research questions. Research spans the innovation pathway; from intervention development, evaluation and implementation. This includes the development and evaluation of the effectiveness of products designed to interact with the body, and the effectiveness of surgical and therapeutic treatments.

These research strands are complemented by a focus on the implementation of the research evidence base in allied health clinical practice. This includes implementation science approaches to promote the systematic uptake of research findings into routine allied health practice to improve the quality and effectiveness of health services and care.

Read the Allied Health Research Unit 2016-2017 report


Supporting the work of the Allied Health Research Unit  is the Movement Analysis Laboratory which is one of the top facilities of its type currently in use in Europe. The Movement Analysis Laboratory is equipped to conduct: advanced motion analysis, force measurement, pressure measurement, muscle and strength assessment, and thermal imaging.

Expertise and Subject Areas

The AHPRu has active collaborations with many hospitals and clinics in the North West as well as research groups in several countries throughout the world. The AHPRu focuses on inter-professional work. By having an applied inter-professional approach there are direct parallels with the ‘real world’ of allied health work, as it takes place in practice; this facilitates knowledge transfer to the clinical setting.

The applied inter-professional approach has led to a considerable growth in the number of people engaging in research activities both formally and informally, with now over 30 individuals registered for a variety of research degrees. These currently include, Masters by Research (MRes), M.Phil, Medical Doctorate (MD), Professional Doctorate and PhD.

The professions currently engaged in research projects include; occupational therapists, orthotists, osteopaths, physiotherapists, podiatrists, prosthetists, speech and language therapists, sports therapists and surgeons. This mix provides an environment that allows for open discussion of research ideas across the clinical disciplines.

Our current research themes are:

  • Management of musculoskeletal conditions
  • Development of products that interact with the body
  • Management of neuromuscular conditions
  • The implementation of the research evidence base in clinical practice


The Cumbria and Lancashire Allied Health Research Network (AHPRN) Hub was established in 2009. This was one of two national pilot sites developed from the National Physiotherapy Research Network (2005). The Cumbria and Lancashire Allied Health Research Network (AHPRN) is supported by the Universities of Central Lancashire (Dr Hazel Roddam, Professor James Selfe, Dr Jessie Janssen, Dr Anne Milston) and Cumbria (Kath Ward, Dr Mark Stigant, Dr Karen Morris) working in collaboration with clinical colleagues (Anne Allison and Tina Robinson, Lancashire Care) and aims to:

  • Develop a supportive, vibrant local network for AHPs involved or interested in research
  • Help AHPs to develop their research skills
  • Raise the profile of AHP research within Cumbria and Lancashire

The Hub runs free master class events in research skills twice a year, and has a research mentorship bursary open to individuals and clinical teams. These activities are subsidised by national funding secured by the Steering Group and places are open to all AHPs who work or live in the region.

Follow regular updates related to research capacity building for AHPs on the Hub’s social media web pages http://uclanahp.blogspot.co.uk/p/about-us.html, Facebook group and Twitter @CumbriaLancsAHP.

The Allied Health team at UCLan have worked directly with over 40 small, medium and large companies to develop and testing of many new rehabilitation devices and equipment design to improve function since 2006. This work led to several new products making it to market including the ‘Lifft Sling’ which was taken on by Boots in 2011 and the ‘Rehab Angel’ which is now being used in many rehabilitation centres in the UK. In addition the Allied Health research team have been directly involved in prototype development and testing of new knee braces and other conservative managements for DJO Inc., Vista California, USA with the focus being on maximising patient benefits.

We also have strong links testing and conducting research on new muscle assessment equipment with Boston University and DELSYS Inc. (Boston, USA). The underpinning aspect of this work is the use of biomechanical and clinical evidence derived from early “proof of principle” studies and its successful application in the clinical management of musculoskeletal and neurological problems and the support of the development of new devices to reduce pain and improve function.

Publications and Outputs


You can view a selection of publications from the Allied Health Research Unit in our institutional repository.

UCLan Research Gate Page - Allied Health Research Unit


Professor Jim Richards

Dr Hazel Roddam

Dr Louise Connell

Dr Ambreen Chohan

Dr Jessie Janssen

Dr. Anastasia Topalidou

Dr Erin Morehead

Dr David Rhodes

Olivia Greenhalgh

Lucy Cross

Hannah Shore

Mairi Olivier

Jill Alexander

Paul Ashworth

Ken Chance-Larsen

Sharon Crane

Brigit Chesworth

Adam Cook

Andy Cunningham

Mandy Dunbar

Steve Foster

Nigel Garratt

Rob Hamilton

Lisa Hartley-Woodrow

Sean Kilmurray

Mark Leather

Greg Littler

Karen May

Gill Rawlinson

Heather Stewart

Neil Wilson

Associate Members

David Levine
(The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, USA)

Professor James Selfe
(Manchester Metropolitan University, UK)

Dr Renato Trede 
(Universidade Federal dos Vales do Jequitinhonha e Mucuri, Brazil)

Associate Professor Yongwook Kim 
(Jeonju University, Republic of Korea)

Professor Areerat Suputtitada
(Chulalongkorn University, Thailand)

Professor Jefferson Cardoso
Universidade Estadual de Londrina, Brazil

Dr Steven Lindley

Megan Bunce

Current Research Students

Hannah Shore MPhil Biomechanical performance testing of sleep surfaces: Can we create the ideal sleep solution?

Catarina Olim MPhil/PhD Nature of voice disorders amongst contact centre operatives and the potential impact of a preventative intervention

Amina Alhawaj, MPhil/PhD: Biomechanical Considerations in a Novel Design of Lower Limb Rehabilitation device

Dan Baidwar-Kshetri, PhD: Knee pain in young adults in Nepal: an epidemiological study comparing urban and rural populations.

Gina Carey, MPhil/PhD: Should I take disease modifying treatment for my relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis? An investigation of patient reported perceptions of risks, preferences for information, treatment goals and expectations during the decision making process.

Lauren Haworth, MPhil: Can we offer biomechanical support for larger breasted women with back pain?

Chukwuemeka Ibeachu, PhD: Epidemiology of lower limb dysfunction in adolescents

John Kiely, Prof Doc: Factors influencing coordinated control of human running

Wolfgang Lackenbauer, MPhil/PhD: Clinical decision-making in Austrian physiotherapy undergraduate students.

Andreas Liefeith, PhD: The role of general motor ability in sport performance

Bruno Mazuquin, PhD: Does early mobilisation after surgical repair of large rotator cuff tears improve biomechanical and clinical outcomes?

Maria Moffatt, PhD Direct: Pregnancy-related lumbopelvic pain: exploring the use of social media for preventative healthcare advice

Sam Pywell PhD: Discourse in the management of anxiety in palliative care: impact on clinical practice and outcomes from exploration of Occupational Therapists’ perspectives

Gillian Rawlinson, MPhil/PhD: An exploration of the mechanisms for behaviour change (COM-B model) within musculoskeletal (MSK) physiotherapy practice.

Heather Stewart MPhil/PhD: The use of portfolios in supporting Continuing Professional Development and employability for physiotherapists

Melissa Sutcliffe, MPhil/PhD: The use of springs in sports footwear, the next big thing or reinventing the wheel?

Taylor A, PhD: Exploring the Association of Childhood/Adolescent Knee pain with Later Onset of Patellofemoral Osteoarthritis (University of Southampton)

Sue Tobin, MPhil/PhD: Investigating the manipulation of the vasti muscles in patellofemoral pain.

Caroline Waterworth, PhD: The Care Aims Approach and Integrated Team Working

Jenni Wilson, Prof Doc: Title TBC.

Andy Wright, MSc (Res): Does stabilization surgery following the first episode of traumatic anterior dislocation influence shoulder kinematics?

Past Research Students

Completed since 2008

2018 Tariq Kwaees, MSc (Res): Exploring the Effects of a Nonmechanical Knee Brace on Lower Limb Kinematics & Kinetics in Healthy Individuals & its Implications for Patients with Osteoarthritis of the Knee

2017 Berj Kishmishian, PhD: The effects of acupuncture and sham acupuncture to the Achilles tendon in Achilles tendinopathy

2017 Lindsay St. George, PhD Electromyographic evaluation of muscle firing patterns in the ridden horse during jumping as an objective method of informing current jump training programmes

2016 Susan Giblin, PhD: Enhancing participation and performance in physical activity through primary level physical education- The role of physical literacy. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

2016 Gilly Rosic, PhD: Exploring the relationship between fear of falling and physical activity in obese women under 50 years of age

2016 Hayley Vincent, MSc Res: Kinetic and 3D Kinematic analysis of netball movements: with and without prophylactic knee bracing

2015 Steven Lindley, PhD: Neuromuscular and Mechanical Control of the Knee Joint with Patellofemoral Pain

2015 Graham Theobald, PhD: An investigation of the biomechanical efficacy and clinical effectiveness of patellofemoral taping in elite and experienced cyclists

2014 Jenny Stockdale, Prof Doc: Exercise behaviour in ankylosing spondylitis patients on anti-TNF

2014 Erin Morehead, Prof Doc: The Development of a Functional Movement Screening Tool for Football

2014 John Burston, PhD: The kinematic effects of three quarter and full length foot orthoses on anterior knee pain sufferers when walking and descending stairs

2013 Howie Carson, PhD: Working inside the black box: Refinement of pre-existing skills

2013 Puneet Monga, MD: Kinematics of Circumduction in shoulders with anterior instability: A comparison with normal shoulders and the influence of stabilization surgery.

2013 Rob Bailey, PhD: The Role of Clinical Lumbo-Pelvic and Hip Tests in the Examination of Gait

2013 Arlene McCurtin PhD: Deconstructing clinical practice and searching for scientific foundations: Examining decision-making scaffolds underpinning intervention choices by speech and language therapists.

2013 Hilary Cowan PhD: An analysis of mothers’ experiences of the process of assessment and diagnosis of their pre-school child with an autism spectrum disorder.

2013 Karen McLean MRes: Exploring the physiotherapeutic needs of breast cancer patients: A qualitative study of patient experience. Masters thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

2012 Jill Alexander, MPhil: Influence of Athletic Spinal Taping on Equine Rider Posture

2012 Sian Parry-Weeks MPhil: Functional benefits of lycra suits in the management of Cerebral Palsy.

2012 Karen Copeland, MSc: Biomechanical testing of a pelvic seating wedge in people with and without lower back pain

2012 Lawrence Protheroe, PhD: An investigation to determine the kinematic variables associated with the production of topspin in the tennis groundstrokes.

2011 Aline Macready, MRes: Advice giving strategies used by Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) to parents of pre-school children with Cerebral Palsy: An exploratory study.

2011 Jeannette Tonks, PhD: Evaluation of short Term conservative treatment in patients with tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis): A prospective randomised, assessor blinded trial.

2011 Sarah Russell, MRes: A Randomised Clinical Trial Investigating The Most Appropriate Conservative Management Of Frozen Shoulder.

2011 Ma Sha, PhD: Upper limb tasks in virtual reality

2010 Dominic Thewlis, PhD: Direct and Indirect Biomechanical Changes during Gait Following Total Knee Arthroplasty


University Links

Country University Department
Australia University of South Australia Division of Health Sciences
Australia University of Melbourne Speech & Language Therapy
Brazil Universidade Estadual de Londrina PAIFIT Research Group
Canada Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering
China University of Hong Kong Institute of Human Performance
Denmark Syddansk University Logopedics
Finland Jyväskylä University Jyväskylän Naisvoimistelijat
Finland Satakunta University of Applied Sciences Faculty of Social and Healthcare
Malta Malta University Speech & Language Therapy
Netherlands University of Groningen Speech & Language Therapy
New Zealand AUT University Health Sciences
Norway University of Oslo Logopedics
Oman University of Nizwa School of Education
Republic of Ireland University of Limerick Department of Physical Education & Sport Sciences
Republic of Ireland University of Limerick Health Sciences
Slovakia Univerzita Komenského, Bratislava Speech & Language Therapy
Slovakia Comenius University, Bratislava Logopedics
UK University of Keele Arthritis Research UK Primary Care Centre
UK University of Southampton School of Health Sciences
UK Manchester Metropolitan University Institute for Biomedical Research into Human Movement and Health
UK Staffordshire University Faculty of Health
UK Teesside University Health and Social Care Institute
UK Salford University School of Health, Sport & Rehabilitation Sciences
UK University of Hull Faculty of Science Sport, Health and Exercise Science
UK Liverpool John Moores University School of Sport and Exercise Sciences
UK University of Manchester Human Communications Sciences
USA Boston University NeuroMuscular Research Center
USA The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Physical Therapy
USA University of Pittsburgh Speech & Language Therapy


NHS Trusts / Clinical Staff Links

Central Lancashire PCT Research Interest Club for AHPs
Central Lancashire Service evaluations
Wrightington Orthopaedics
Bolton Physiotherapy
Royal Preston Hospital Orthopaedics
C&L AHP Research Hub Regional clinicians’ group
C&L AHP Research Network SHA-led Regional group
NPRN Nat Physio research network
SLT Paediatric Research group Regional research group
Manchester Victoria Speech & language therapy
Northumbria Speech & language therapy
Blackpool Victoria Orthopaedics


Professional Bodies Links

Professional Bodies Staff Topic
RCSLT Hazel Roddam Deputy Chair of Council
RCSLT Hazel Roddam Chair of Council 2010-12
CPLOL Hazel Roddam UK rep on EU SLT Board



Commercial Links Country TOPIC
James Leckey Design Ltd UK Product manual
DJO USA Orthotic products
MDTi UK Rehab product developments
Delsys Inc USA Electromyography


Contact us

For further information about the Allied Health Research Unit, please contact:

Professor Jim Richards
School of Health Sciences
Brook Building, Room BB118
University of Central Lancashire

Tel: +44 (0) 1772 89 4575
Email: jrichards@uclan.ac.uk

Related Projects

Current projects

  • TIPPS project: Targeted Intervention for Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
  • CIDP project: An Investigation of the Effectiveness of an Exercise Intervention in Individuals with Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
  • The biomechanics of conservative management of knee Osteoarthritis
  • The effect of taping and bracing on the stability of the knee
  • The perceptions of physiotherapists towards research participation
  • Discourse in the management of anxiety in palliative care: impact on clinical practice and outcomes from exploration of Occupational Therapists’ perspectives
  • Treatment of patellofemoral pain and anterior knee movement in cycling
  • Studies of the Prevalence, Natural history and Aetiology of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (SNAPPS)
  • Determining the clinical effectiveness of the “Lumbacurve” in the management of simple mechanical lower back pain
  • Patient expectations from implant removal following elective foot and ankle surgery: an exploratory study
  • Factors that support successful integrated team working for Allied Health Professionals in Primary Care settings
  • Fracture risk in Adults with Learning Difficulties who have osteoporosis
  • The impact of anti-TNFα medication on exercise behaviour in patients with AS and the implications for physiotherapists
  • Conversation Training in Early Aphasia to Improve Outcomes Post Stroke
  • Relating theory to practice: improving support for Speech and Language Therapy students’ learning
  • Perceptions of clinical physiotherapists on a patellofemoral research study
  • Determining the effectiveness of the CERAGEM automatic thermal massage bed for back pain
  • Promoting pupil attainment and social inclusion by enhancing the spoken language skills of children in Moss Bay Ward
  • The role of SLT Assistants in working with children who have Specific Language Impairment (SLI)
  • Information after stroke: Experiences of people with aphasia and their families before and after the digital revolution
  • Effects of patellar taping on knee joint proprioception in patients with patellofemoral pain syndrome
  • Biomechanical Effects Of Different Treatment Modalities Used In Knee Pain During Stair Descent
  • Effects of patellar taping on knee joint proprioception in patients with patellofemoral pain syndrome
  • Defining methods to determine Allied Health Professional cancer pathways

Previous projects

  • Determining the clinical effectiveness of the “Rophi Cushion” in the management of simple mechanical lower back pain
  • Deconstructing clinical practice and searching for scientific foundations: Examining decision-making scaffolds underpinning intervention choices by speech and language therapists
  • An analysis of mothers’ experiences of the process of assessment and diagnosis of their pre-school child with an autism spectrum disorder
  • An exploration of patients’ perceptions of cancer services
  • Functional benefits of lycra suits in the management of Cerebral Palsy
  • Charting the highs and lows: an exploratory study investigating the health and social care professionals’ experience of working with people who have MND, their families and carers.
  • Literacy development in children who have Cerebral Palsy (external advisor)
  • Advice giving strategies used by Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) to parents of pre-school children with Cerebral Palsy: An exploratory study
  • Clinical decision-making by physiotherapists in prescribing Dynamic Elastomeric Fabric Orthosis (DEFO) for children who have cerebral palsy.
  • Assessing the impact of living in the community with a urinary continence problem: Evaluation of current outcome measures.
  • To tilt or not to tilt? A critical review of the evidence for the use of tilt-in-space for the management of seated interface pressures in adults with advanced disabilities.
  • Mapping practice onto theory in speech and language therapy approaches to motor speech impairment in children who have cerebral palsy
  • Key indicators of Persistent social communication difficulties for children with permanent severe/profound hearing loss: expert consensus by Specialist Speech and Language Therapists
  • Providing enhanced speech and language therapy using computer technology
  • Evaluation of the impact of new models of practice for Children’s Therapy Services
  • Development of a Quality Assurance tool ‘Q-SET’ for managers of Speech and Language Therapy services
  • The biomechanics of knee bracing in the management of knee Osteoarthritis
  • The biomechanics of lower limb tasks in obese and non-obese individuals
  • Development and validation of a novel sonographic method for clinical assessment of knee joint damage in chronic arthritis
  • An investigation of the reliability and validity of the Trendelenburg test as a measure of dynamic pelvic stability in normal healthy adults
  • Evaluation of the impact of Assistant Practitioner roles (Fdf and NHS Northwest funded)
  • Kinematic analysis of hip function: A prospective comparison of two surgical approaches used for total hip arthroplasty
  • Wheelchair users and carers participation in the Urban Environment
  • Three-dimensional kinematics of the lower forelimb of the horse
  • Three−dimensional analysis of shoulder movement patterns in shoulders with anterior instability: A comparison of kinematics with normal shoulders and influence of stabilization surgery
  • Thermographic imaging of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • The Wardrobe and Wellbeing: exploring relationships between women living with rheumatoid arthritis and their clothing
  • The use of different designs of foot orthoses in the treatment of early rheumatoid arthritis
  • The efficacy of common physiotherapy interventions in the treatment of a frozen shoulder
  • The effect of cardan sequence on knee joint kinematics
  • The biomechanics of functional activities following high tibial osteotomy for patients with medial compartment knee osteoarthritis
  • The biomechanical changes following Total Knee Replacement
  • Mapping exercise referral schemes in Lancashire
  • Designing Environments for People with Arthritis (DEPA): a multi-media approach to education for healthcare professionals working in rheumatology. This project is funded by the Arthritis Research Campaign
  • An investigation into the relationship between cooling and proprioception (joint position sense) at the knee
  • An evaluation of the evidence base in relation to AHP services for patients with breast cancer
  • A thermographic investigation of Patellofemoral problems
  • A randomised, assessor blinded controlled trial evaluating the conservative of treatment tennis elbow patients
  • A focus group exploration of Red Flags for Serious Spinal pathology
  • Gait Initiation Failure in People with Parkinson’s Disease
  • Stability in ankle bracing
  • The biomechanics of single limb squats at different decline angles
  • Biofeedback in Immersive Digital Environments for Rehabilitation