WE all get aches and pains whether we are professional athletes, weekly gym goers or couch potatoes. Now an internationally renowned physio has set up a community clinic in the South Lakes to offer elite-level treatment to the general public. GABRIELLE ROWLEY found out more.

Adam Smith, 43, from Ambleside, is the clinic and placement manager for a new sports rehabilitation and physio practice he is running with students from the University of Cumbria in Ambleside.

Based in The Langdale Building, university professor Adam and his second and third year sports rehab students, are welcoming clients every Wednesday afternoon. They hope that with the success of the clinic, which is providing valuable work experience for the students, it may become a permanent fixture at the university in 2017.

Adam has travelled the world during his career as a physio and has worked with current rugby world champions, the New Zealand All Blacks. He has also worked with our own England rugby union team, dancers from London West End shows and more locally Saint Helens Saints and Leeds Rhinos.

He said: "We have had a great deal of interest in the clinics and they seem to be filling up every week.

"There are people from Ambleside and Windermere, but I also have people traveling from Ulverston and some interest from Barrow as well.

"There is definitely a real mix of people coming in. We are treating some pretty high-level athletes such as former fell running champion Ben Abdelnoor, adventure racer Tom Gibbs and international triathlete Renell Brennan.

"However, I've also got a lady in her 60s who has just had a hip replacement and plenty of weekend warriors."

Adam wants to give his Sports Rehab students the vital experience they need to achieve their British Association of Sport Rehabilitators and Trainers accreditation. He also makes sure that they get time with professional athletes at Carlisle United FC and Saint Helens Saints, but stresses the importance of interacting with a great range of clients as frequently as possible.

He said: "Interacting with clients is an integral skill for the students and no two people are the same. I think it is quite a similar situation to going to the hairdresser.

"People really open up and chat to you so you have to be very sociable and able to make clients feel at ease. Sometimes a client can talk you through their whole divorce or sometimes they might just plug in their earphones and let you get on with it. I want my students to be as prepared as possible to go out into the working world."

The sports rehab students are learning how to diagnose everything from a cellular level. They then treat the problem and set out a rehabilitation programme for the client. They will also learn to prescribe something called a prehab programme, which is a preventative plan to ensure clients don't experience the same injuries again.

Adam said: "There is a huge enthusiasm for sports in the Lake District, especially outdoor sports such as climbing and fell running.

"We look at how the sports are affecting clients' bodies and recommend things like yoga, stretching or work in the gym which might strengthen the shoulders or core to help with their over all fitness and coordination."

For more on all our sports and fitness stories, visit: www.goactiveincumbria.com.


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Common injuries seen by Physiotherapists

Achilles tendon injuries

Achilles tendinopathy is a common injury that may affect runners, or people with flat feet or those with high arches or tight calf muscles as well as those who wear runners that are not an appropriate fit for them.

Back pain

Most people will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. Back pain is common among athletes who strain their back muscles or it may be the result of spinal injuries such as fractures or sprains.

Compartment syndrome

Compartment syndrome is a condition caused by swelling within the space or "compartment" that contains muscles, nerves, blood vessels and bones.

Hamstring strain

A hamstring strain, sometimes called a pulled hamstring, is very common in sports that involve sprinting such as football, rugby and hockey and it most often occurs at the junction of the muscle and its tendon.

Muscular injuries

In athletes and sports enthusiasts, muscular injuries may stem from a variety of reasons like direct blow or trauma, sudden forceful contraction or stretch and overuse.

Tennis elbow and golfer's elbow

Golfer’s elbow is a condition that affects the flex or muscles of wrist and causes pain and inflammation to their tendons that is mostly felt along the inside of the forearm and up towards the inside of the elbow.