Salford’s 3D Running Performance Clinic holds open day for North West Physiotherapists

Thursday 15 January 2015

Earlier this week the University of Salford’s Running Performance Clinic held an open day for the North West’s top physiotherapists.

The running performance clinic is one of only two services of its kind in the United Kingdom and one of only a handful in the world. It provides state-of-the-art 3D running gait assessments for amateur and professional athletes.  This allows patients to develop an improved running style, contributing to a speedier recovery time for running related injuries, to a reduction in the risk of future running-related injuries and to improved running performance.

Monday’s open day was a chance for physiotherapists based in the North West region to come and see the cutting-edge technology in action, and to see if it would work for their own patients.

The Running Performance Clinic has been used in the past by some of the region’s top athletes, including a number of athletes who have represented England at the Commonwealth Games and Great Britain at European and International competitions. 

Guests observed a demonstration of the technology with Andrew Keat, a Great Britain junior international Biathlon and 800m athlete, who has been suffering with a recent injury. 

Guests were able to watch as Andrew was recorded running in the clinic and were then shown the 3D model of Andrew running, on screen, which was generated from the clinic’s technology. 

The clinic’s 3D technology works by using multiple high spec 2D cameras to calculate the 3D positions of a number reflective markers, placed at specific anatomical locations over the body. The motions of these markers are then used, along with a biomechanical model, to compute joint angles for each of the different joints in the body. These joint angles are then expressed over the gait cycle and this enables us to understand differences in movement between different people.

Speaking at the open day, the University of Salford Running Performance Clinic’s Dr Stephen Preece said: “With more and more people taking up running, many physiotherapists are seeing an increase in the number of people with running-related injuries. 

“Access to technology that can quickly and correctly assess the cause of running injuries is becoming invaluable – and that’s exactly what the Running Performance Clinic offers.  Using the 3D technology that we have available we can observe runners and tell them what is causing their pain, more often than not within one session. 

“The Clinic is one of only two services in the UK and we want to raise awareness about what our service can offer.  We hope this open day will allow us to begin to form partnerships with physiotherapists across the region and allow us to help more people across the North of England and beyond. 

Chris Bramah, lead physiotherapist at the Clinic, also said: "The 3D technology that we can utilise helps us to identify the specific faults in a patient's gait. This means that we can assess what the patient's problem is and advise them on treatments to tackle their specific issues.

"So many patients come to the clinic after trying four or five other types of treatments but none can pinpoint their issue. That's what makes our service so special, our technology visualises the person's skeleton as they run and gives us an insight in to areas that may be contributing to their injuries.

Duncan Mason, who has served as Camp Physiotherapist to the British Athletics team and lectures at the University of Salford, added: "Being able to access state of the art technology like the 3D running performance clinic can be invaluable to a physiotherapist.

"There are few other services in the world that can help secure accurate assessments in the way the clinic's technology can.  I’d encourage any athlete, amateur or professional, who is struggling with an injury to give our 3D running clinic a try."