• Allied Health Research Unit

    sports physiotherapy

The Allied Health Research Unit (AHRu) 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; drawing upon the wide range of research methodological expertise in our group. One of these aspects is the development of new techniques in the assessment and management of musculoskeletal and neurological conditions.

Our 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 AHRu has active collaborations with many hospitals, clinics, community health services, voluntary sector agencies and  other research groups throughout the UK and around the world. The AHRu focuses on the ‘real world’ of allied health work as it takes place in practice; facilitating more effective knowledge transfer to the clinical setting.

Our 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), MPhil, Medical Doctorate (MD), Professional Doctorate and PhD.

The professions currently engaged in research projects include; physiotherapists, sports therapists, speech and language therapists, podiatrists, prosthetists, occupational therapists, orthotists, osteopaths 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 neuromuscular conditions
  • Management of musculoskeletal conditions
  • Development of products that interact with the body
  • The implementation of research evidence base in clinical practice

Impact

The international impact of the work from our research group includes influencing changes for relevant patient groups in the following ways:

  • pathways of assessment and management for individuals
  • healthcare service delivery approaches
  • prescribing of healthcare products and medical devices
  • professional education of healthcare practitioners
  • continuing professional development and post-qualification training.

Our effective knowledge transfer has been achieved through:

  • our extensive portfolio of international networks and partnerships across industry, commercial, strategic, and practitioner levels
  • internationally recognised professional development forums
  • innovative online learning communities.

The body of research outputs from our group includes world-leading publications across a range of research methodologies. Our group also actively supports many early career and novice researchers, including assistance for healthcare practitioners to undertake practice-based research and systematic service evaluations.

Members

Research Staff

Professor Jim Richards
Dr Louise Connell
Dr Hazel Roddam
Dr Graham Chapman
Dr Ambreen Chohan
Olivia Greenhalgh
Lauren Haworth
Hannah Shore
 

Associated UCLan Staff

Dr David Rhodes
Dr Paula Leslie
Dr Kathryn Jarvis

Jill Alexander
Paul Ashworth
Ken Chance-Larsen
Sharon Crane
Adam Cook
Andy Cunningham
Steve Foster
Rob Hamilton
Lisa Hartley-Woodrow
Sean Kilmurray
Mark Leather
Greg Littler
Karen May
Sam Pywell
Gill Rawlinson
Heather Stewart
Kath Ward
Justine Whitaker
Neil Wilson

External Associates

Professor James Selfe (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK)
Dr Jessie Janssen (Krems University of Applied Sciences)
Professor Paola Dey (Edge Hill)
Professor David Levine (The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, USA)
Associate Professor Yongwook Kim (Jeonju University, Republic of Korea)
Professor Areerat Suputtitada (Chulalongkorn University, Thailand)
Professor Hayri Baran Yosmaoğlu (Baskent University, Turkey)
Professor Juliane Mühlhaus-Leinweber (Trier University of Applied Sciences)
Professor Kerstin Bilda (Bochum University of Applied Sciences)
Professor Wiebke Scharff Rethfeldt (Bremen University of Applied Sciences)
Professor Felix Capanni (Ulm University of Applied Sciences
Professor Janice Eng (University of British Colombia)
Professor Cathy Holt (Cardiff University)
Professor Anthony Redmond (University of Leeds)
Associate Prof Cathy Stinear (University of Auckland)
Associate Professor Marienke van Middelkoop (Erasmus Medical Centre, NL)
Dr Claire Brockett (University of Leeds)
Dr Steven Lindley (Delsys)
Dr Renato Trede (UFVJM, Brazil)
Dr Liane Macedo (UFRN, Brazil)
Dr Erin Morehead (University of Texas)
Dr Komsak Sinsurin (Mahidol University, Thailand)
Dr Barbora Kolářová (Palacký University Olomouc, CZ)
Dr Eliška Kuboňová (Ostrava University, CZ),
Dr Jose Heredia Jimenez (University of Granada, Spain)
Dr Kevin Deschamps (KU Leuven, Belgium)
Dr Ana María de Benito Trigueros (Universidad Católica de Valencia, Spain)
Dr Joanne Patterson (University of Newcastle)
Dr Catherine Adams (University of Manchester)
Alex Mbuli (Napier University, Edinburgh)

Current Research Students (Target Award)

Amina Alhawaj (PhD) Biomechanical Considerations in a Novel Design of Lower Limb Rehabilitation device

Paul Ashworth (MRes) An exploration of the factors affecting spinal movement and muscle activity in cyclists with and without lower back pain

Gina Carey (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.

Adrienne Day (MRes) The physiological and biomechanical effects of a short term e-bikes cycling intervention in Stroke survivors

Nicola Gaskins (MPhil)  Aerobic Exercise after Stroke: Perspectives of healthcare, exercise and fitness professionals working in stroke or cardiac rehabilitation

BoWen Han (PhD) Multi-modality biological signal processing and analysis for assessment of knee joint stability

Lauren Haworth (PhD) Can we offer biomechanical support for larger breasted women with back pain?

Robyn Jones (MRes) Does the use of an Orthoglide device improve outcomes post-total knee replacement?

John Kiely (Prof Doc) Factors influencing coordinated control of human running

Andreas Liefeith (PhD) The role of general motor ability in sport performance

Greg Littler (MPhil/PhD) An investigation into exercise and exercise progression with patients with patellofemoral pain

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

Zoe Posner PhD: Development and evaluation of staff training to support resilience and wellbeing in a Mental Health setting

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 (PhD) An exploration of the mechanisms for behaviour change (COM-B model) within musculoskeletal (MSK) physiotherapy practice.

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

Heather Stewart (PhD) The use of portfolios in supporting Continuing Professional Development and employability for physiotherapists

Sue Tobin (PhD) Investigating the manipulation of the vasti muscles in patellofemoral pain.

Pongchai Watcharakeunkhan (MPhil/PhD) The Effects of Kinesio Taping on Biomechanical and Clinical Outcomes in Runners with Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome

Andri Zeniou (MPhil/PhD) Screening for post-stroke dysphagia in Cyprus

External Research Students

Olivia Greenhalgh (PhD) The development of clinical protocols in a novel cooling, compression and heating device – Manchester Metropolitan University, UK

Ivana Hanzlíková (PhD) The Development and Testing of a Modified Landing Error Scoring System - University of Waikato, New Zealand

James Hopwood (PhD) The Evaluation of Biomechanical and Wear Performance of Total Ankle Replacements – University of Leeds, UK

Richard Wilkins (PhD NIHR Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship) Haemarthrosis of the ankle in haemophilia A and B: prevalence, impact and intervention – University of Leeds, UK

Wolfgang Lackenbauer (PhD) Clinical decision-making in Austrian physiotherapy undergraduate students  – Manchester Metropolitan University, UK

Elia Mercado Palomino (PhD) – University of Granada, Spain

Rose Peel (HEE/NIHR ICA Pre-doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship), UK

Sarah Plant (The Stroke Association Post-Graduate Fellowship) The development of a goal-setting tool for use during acute stroke rehabilitation: the Goal-setting Implementation in Stroke Tool (GIST), UK

David Rochelle (PhD) Development of a biomechanical foot and ankle simulator for evaluation of interventions for chronic ankle instability – University of Leeds, UK

Raul Valldecabres (PhD) Analysis of performance factors, on-court movement strategies and injury risks in badminton – Universidad Católica de Valencia San Vicente Mártir, Spain

Zach Welshman (PhD) Characterising variation in foot and ankle mechanics using statistical shape modelling and a novel multibody model – University of Leeds, UK

Past Research Students

Completed since 2010

2019 Paul Boland MRes:  An exploration of the barriers and enablers of using electrically assisted bikes (e-bikes) in the development of a stroke intervention for people after stroke  

2019 Joshua Jeffreys MRes: Comparison of isokinetic dynamometry and the Nordbord for measures of hamstring functional strength in elite academy footballers

2019 Melissa Sutcliffe PhD: The effect of integrating micro spring technology into running shoes to influence biomechanical parameters and knee pain/comfort scores in recreational runners with knee pain

2019 Bruno Mazuquin PhD: Does early mobilisation after surgical repair of large rotator cuff tears improve biomechanical and clinical outcomes?

2019 Andy Wright MSc (Res): Does stabilization surgery following the first episode of traumatic anterior dislocation influence shoulder kinematics?

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

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

Professor Jim Richards
School of Sport and Health Sciences
Brook Building, Room BB118
University of Central Lancashire
Preston 
PR1 2HE

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

 

Related Projects

Management of neuromuscular conditions

Current areas of interest include stroke rehabilitation, with research exploring delivery of upper limb interventions, intensity, and aerobic exercise. We are also involved in the development and use of measurement tools, predictive algorithms (e.g. PREP2) and complex rehabilitation interventions (e.g. GRASP). All our work aims to make a direct difference to patients and focuses on the implementation of research findings into clinical practice.

Management of musculoskeletal conditions

This research area focuses on developing novel approaches to evaluating function in healthy and musculoskeletal conditions and examining the effect of surgical and conservative treatments/therapies on function. Through this greater understanding, we strive to improve the treatment of different musculoskeletal conditions by developing novel treatments which may be implemented into clinical settings.

Current areas of interest include improving clinical subgrouping of patients to allow for stratified interventions for increased compliance and responsiveness to treatment. We have been heavily involved in understanding the clinical subgrouping of patellofemoral patients and the development of mobile phone apps (e.g. Appatella) to allow for improve clinical therapies for individuals with patellofemoral knee pain. We are also involved in understanding how ankle sprains lead to ankle osteoarthritis. With support from OATech+, a collaborative grant UCLAN, University of Leeds and Cardiff University aims to use gait analysis, video fluoroscopy and state of the art multibody modelling to understand ankle function before and after ankle sprains/total ankle replacement surgery.

Development of products that interact with the body

The AHRu offers bespoke biomechanical testing of products and scientific research to assist companies in the development of their products. This includes helping to modify product design and build an evidence base for products and devices. The team continually strives to create links with the business community offering scientific testing and workshops. The unit has supported over 50 SME’s through European Regional Development Fund related work, in addition to other commercial contract work and funded research grants that have allowed us to work with larger companies such as (DJO Global, Silentnight and Harrison Spinks).

The implementation of the research evidence base in clinical practice

Implementation is often described as the missing link in the research translation pipeline. This research area focuses on strategies and processes to support clinical teams and individual practitioners to change their practice in an evidence-informed way. It also encompasses research studies to investigate and evaluate ways in which research-based intervention protocols may be adapted in real world clinical settings; and approaches to measure the acceptability as well as the effectiveness of those interventions. Implementation Science comprises of a range of frameworks and tools, including stakeholder consultation models and these studies generally require mixed methodology expertise.

Examples of our current and recent implementation science projects include upper limb rehabilitation for post-stroke patients, and speech and language therapy interventions for children with social communication impairments.