Why the physiotherapist, author and Venn Ambassador relies on SWT to get his patients up and running again
Hi Paul! Tell us how you started in physiotherapy…
From the age of 13 I kayaked to a high standard: in fact, I raced for Team GB from 15 to 31. It was during this time I came to understood the benefit of having a good medical team, and so when it came to higher education, physiotherapy was an obvious choice.
Had you shown an interest before?
I’d been exposed to it through top-level training and competition, as well as career-threatening injuries, so was aware of its importance. As an athlete you spend a lot of time abroad, and I wasn't the type to sit and play videogames between training sessions, so I studied. By the time I’d retired, I’d already gained enough qualifications and experience to offer a unique service to private clients.
How did you first encounter shockwave therapy (SWT)?
I was first introduced to it by Paula Radcliffe and Steve Cram, both of whom had had incredible benefits from being treated by it.
What impact did it have on your practice?
Nothing has made as much of a difference to my work as shockwave therapy! This is both in terms of patient outcomes and satisfaction, and providing a faster response to otherwise drawn-out treatment plans.
What are the most obvious benefits?
SWT is my first port of call if I have a patient with a stubborn injury as it’s been shown to kickstart the healing process. It literally gives people back their lives. The applications of SWT in private practice are only limited by scientific research catching up with what I see in the clinic every day. If you’re a therapist with patients who aren’t responding to usual treatment options, refer them to a clinic with SWT. Within weeks, you’ll be asking Venn to sell you a machine!
Are there are more specific ailments that seem to benefit from SWT?
Associated issues surrounding the site of injuries respond well to SWT. Also, patients with patellar tendinopathy, who present with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee, report a huge improvement in function from a basis of their OA. However, more research is needed: positive research outcomes have been limited to horses so far. But patients are learning that SWT exists and are now asking for it at first point of contact.
Describe your relationship with Venn…
We work really well together. Venn supplies the best machines, has a truly responsive aftercare programme and has been supportive of my clinic. I’ve presented for Venn all over the UK in major sporting stadiums and also at the Royal College Of Surgeons (RCOS). We’re currently in talks to expand further into the continent and also to Premier League football clubs.
Any other developments?
Venn is developing an education programme I’m honoured to pioneer and develop. I’ve also been instrumental in promoting SWT in the media: most notably it forms the basis of many of the treatments in my book, Running Fee Of Injuries.
Away from shockwave therapy, what’s the most important thing you say to patients?
I always ask them what it would mean for them to be pain/injury-free. Then set three key outcome goals together.
Finally, what’s the secret to a successful practice?
Customer service, sense of humour and personality. Without these you can be the best therapist on paper but if you can’t engage, inspire and spoil your patients then you’ll have lost their confidence. When there’s a magic pill, none of this will matter. Until then, and while the patient has a role in their treatment, inspiring them in a relaxed manner is the best route to success.