Earlier this month we held our annual bake sale and you can see from the photo we had an array of yummy treats to sell. Sportswise staff, along with our University of Brighton colleagues, students and of course our lovely patients, all did a fantastic job of eating their way through pretty much the whole lot!
It was Sportswise physio Luke Carter’s 7th time of running the Beachy Head Marathon this year. On a beautiful Saturday morning back in October, with pretty near perfect condtions, Luke set off on the 26.2 mile run over the picturesque, but challenging, South Downs National Park countryside.
Four hours and 58 minutes later he arrived back in Eastbourne to an applause from family and friends. Luke says ‘Being ill earlier in the week I knew I would have to take it easier than normal, but I completed another year successfully!’ Well done Luke and all our patients who entered this year.
Osteoarthritis is one of the commonest problems and probably something that we will all face at some time, in one joint or another. Its impact on our lives can be significant with severe pain and immobility, or for some a nagging nuisance that stops you doing the things you enjoy – gardening or playing a whole round of golf. The principal symptoms are pain and stiffness, particularly in the morning, joint swelling and grating or grinding noises. The hips, knees, fingers and big toes are common sites, as well as the spine.
In general, we advocate conservative treatments initially which includes measures like physiotherapy, simple pain-killers, specific exercises and activity modification. Shock absorbing footwear or insoles may help, as might taking supplements of glucosamine and chondroitin – the building blocks of cartilage in joints. But when these have failed or symptoms are too severe what else can you do before considering surgery?
Fortunately, now there are a variety of injections that may help to keep you active. For some this may mean returning to full exercise, and for others it could mean deferring surgery. We still use corticosteroid injections when joints are acutely inflamed with lots of swelling and redness but this does not have a long term benefit and has more side effects. Consequently, we now offer treatment called viscosupplementation with a substance called Hyaluronic acid or Hyaluronans, which is the important substance in your natural synovial (joint) fluid. Injecting Hyaluronic acid in a gel-like form gives a highly viscous, lubricating fluid that coats the lining of the damaged joint surfaces and lining, reduces pain and protects the joint surfaces from joint inflammation. Our patients often refer to it as a version of WD40 for their joints.
At Sportswise we use a preparation called Ostenil Plus as it has a high concentration of hyaluronic acid and in our experience has very few side effects. For most joints it requires a course of 3 injections, each separated by a week, but this will depend on the individual and the joint involved. For the hip and shoulder joints we will use ultrasound guidance for the injection but for most others this is not necessary. There may be a little soreness at the time, as with any needle puncture, but this quickly settles and you can continue your usual activity the next day. There are very few side effects, as it is a naturally occurring substance in the body. A few people may have a slight allergic reaction which causes temporary pain and swelling in their joint after the injection which will settle with ice and paracetamol. There is also a small risk of infection with any injection, estimated at less than 1 in 20 000, but we have never had one at Sportswise in twenty years.
It is hard to predict how each patient will respond as this depends on many factors, including how well you look after your joint and whether you do strengthening exercises. Generally the improvement can be from 6-12 months to several years. We can monitor your progress through validated self-report questionnaires, with questions specific to the joint involved. This gives a score that can track your progress over time.
Please make an appointment to discuss it with one of our consultants if you want to find out more about osteoarthritis and the injections available.
We were thrilled with the huge uptake of people at the recent talk on Osteoarthritis. Sportswise consultant Dr Polly Baker, and dietitian Lesley Houston led an evening dedicated to improving the lives of those suffering with osteoarthritis. Those attending learnt more about the condition and about the various ways in which we can help improve the symptoms, including a look at diet and supplements.
Feedback from our patients was overwhelmingly positive with comments such as ‘a really interesting evening which has led me to think about my lifestyle and my OA’ as well as ‘more talks please!’
We look forward to putting on more informative talks again in the New Year. Please feel free to let us know if there is any subject in particular you would be interested in hearing about.
We told you briefly in our last newsletter about an upcoming talk we are hosting here at Sportswise given by Dr Polly Baker, Sport and Exercise Medicine consultant and Lesley Houston dietitian.
Do you have osteoarthritis or know someone close to you that does? Would you like to find out a bit more about this condition and how you can help improve its symptoms? Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis causing joint pain and stiffness. There is no cure for OA but there are a number of things you may do to help alleviate the symptoms. Lifestyle changes, exercise and some complementary therapies can all help in the relief of pain and allow you to continue living a healthy, active life.
Sportswise wants to formally welcome Faye McClelland to the physio team. Faye adds to the wealth of experience at the clinic and brings an important perspective from the world of triathlon.
Faye graduated from Physiotherapy at the University of Brighton in 2013. Her main interests are sports rehabilitation, particularly within athletics and Triathlon. Further interests include the spine and conditions and pathologies affecting it. Since 2013 she has competed as a full time GB Paratriathlete. Faye recently retired from sport after competing in the Rio Paralympic Games. Prior to this, Faye worked as a Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer. Her athletic career and former experience within the Fitness Industry has helped Faye gain a wide knowledge of the muscular skeletal system and injuries and conditions that may affect it.
Faye first came to Eastbourne after living in London to study Physiotherapy. “I realised Eastbourne had so much scope for me as a Triathlete, located on the foot of the Downs with a stunning coastline it was a perfect location to train. Here I made many like minded friends within the sporting community. I’ve since never left. Eastbourne is my home now, I’m here to stay!”
Professor Webborn and Dr Siva Mani-Babu are both in Toronto currently for the Invictus Games. Nick is the Chief Medical Officer and has organised all the medical services for the UK team. Siva, on the far left in this photo, is the lead doctor providing the clinical services along with a team of physiotherapists and nurses.
A recent new face
Someone who hasn’t yet been formally introduced to you is Gabriella Regan. Gaby has already settled in at Sportswise as one of our physios. She is a valuable addition to our physio team with training that includes vestibular physiotherapy – any of you who have struggled with balance issues you will know how unpleasant and debilitating that can be and how important it is to get the right treatment to help improve or resolve it. As well as vestibular physio skills Gaby is also able to offer sports massage and Pilates.
Like the rest of the team physio Maryke Louw takes time to keep up to date with the latest developments in her field and has volunteered at a number of national and international sporting events, most recently as part of the medical team at both the World Para Athletics Championships and the IAAF World Championships in London. She gave us her impressions:
‘It was lovely to see some of the old faces that worked with me at the Games in Baku in 2015. The main medical room was situated on the training track where all the athletes warmed up before races. This meant that we had the likes of Bolt and Mo run right past our noses. It was amazing to see how much more agile and powerful the athletes appear in real life compared to on TV.
We were rotated between several venues. At the training track we provided a full service of injury diagnosis and treatment as well as ice baths and compression (those are the silly trousers that I’m wearing in the picture) to speed up recovery. We also worked in the hotels where the teams stayed where we mostly provided massage and strapping.
Being stationed in the stadium itself was very exciting, but you didn’t do nearly as much as in the other venues. I’m used to working pitch side at rugby where you run up immediately if someone is down. Here the athletes preferred to hobble off the track themselves and would only accept help once they were away from the public eye. My busiest night was that rainy Wednesday evening when all the 5000m heats took place. They were extremely aggressive races and several athletes sustained long cuts on their legs from the spikes of their fellow competitors.
Volunteering at these events are always great fun and I highly recommend it. They are always looking for loads of volunteers in different areas of work (including retired ones!). The events usually have a website where you can register you interest about eighteen months before the event.
I have been very touched by the show of concern for my welfare by many of our clients and thought it would be helpful to update you on my progress. I now have a planned date in August for a procedure on my spine, which hopefully will give me some relief from pain. Whether I will be able to return to routine outpatient consulting afterwards remains to be seen but as you can probably imagine I have nontheless been busy in the intervening period.
Firstly, in relation to Sportswise. The demand for our services continues to grow and consequently we have restructured the working week for all practitioners. This will allow us to make more consultations available across all disciplines. To help with the demand for Consultant appointments I’m very pleased to welcome a new member of staff to expand the services – Dr Siva Mani-Babu. Siva is a specialist in sport and exercise medicine but, like Polly Baker and myself, has worked at Headley Court, the Defence Services Medical Rehabilitation Unit.
As for me personally – many of you will know I had the privilege in February to be elected as chair of the British Paralympic Association and this has also been taking up much of my time! I have just returned from the European Paralympic Committee’s meeting in Poland and will be hosting a reception at the London World Para Athletics Championships for Sir Philip Craven, who is the outgoing president of the IPC in September this year at the IPC general assembly meeting in Abu Dhabi. Additionally I’ve been helping to organise the medical services for the UK Invictus team for the 2017 games in Toronto.
My research work at the University of Brighton continues with various projects including the ongoing injury and illness surveys carried out at the Paralympic games and I look forward to meeting with my colleagues from the IPC medical committee in Bonn next week to discuss this further.
Rest assured that Sportswise remains an important and significant part of my everyday life, even if I’m not always present in person. I am very fortunate to have a great team of colleagues both in the clinical team and the administrative staff and we shall continue helping people for many years to come.