Physiotherapy: Musculoskeletal

This team are specialist in providing assessment and treatment to inpatients and outpatients with musculoskeletal conditions. We help our patients to improve their flexibility, strength, balance and mobility to regain independence, reduce pain and maximize their quality of life.

The Musculoskeletal team is part of the Physiotherapy Department.

Our Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy team provides treatment to adults over the age of 18 years. We also provide some specialist services for children.

The service is led by Specialist Physiotherapists; this means we can provide you with the most effective treatment for your problem.

We work in partnership with you and other health care professionals on treatment goals that are centred on your needs whether you are a patient in hospital or attending an outpatient appointment.

We will help you to understand your symptoms, help you to use your movement in the best way possible and help you to self-manage your condition.

Conditions include: Arthritis – OA/RA, back and neck pain, complex limb correction surgery, fractures, joint pain, post-operative rehabilitation, soft tissue injury, facial palsy. We also host the Ankylosing Spondylitis group held in our Orthopaedic Gym every Thursday evening.

We help our patients to improve flexibility, strength, balance and mobility in order to obtain the best possible outcome, regain independence, reduce pain and maximize their quality of life.

Treatments include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Balance work
  • Electrotherapy
  • Exercises to strengthen and condition
  • Gait re-education
  • Group exercise
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Joint manipulation
  • Joint mobilisation
  • Management of respiratory conditions
  • Management of pain
  • Rehabilitation towards your full potential
  • Self- help groups including the Ankylosing Spondylitis group.

To change or cancel an appointment: 0191 5699027

Change appointment online

The office is open:
  • Monday to Thursday – 7.30 am to 7 pm
  • Friday – 7.30 am to 6 pm
  • Saturday – 8 am to 1 pm

Physiotherapy Reception: General queries: 0191 5699028

GP enquiries: 0191 5410077

Core Hours: Monday – Friday:08.00 – 16.30

Key Contacts

Divisional General Manager: Jackie Butterworth

Directorate Manager: Mandy Bates

Clinical Director: Mary Spearman

Head of Service: Jill Graham

Physiotherapy Clinical Team Lead: Jane Parnell

Sunderland Royal Hospital site map and entrances

Musculoskeletal Inpatient Services:

  • Orthopaedic Wards, Sunderland Royal Hospital

Our team will look after you when you are admitted to hospital for a planned Orthopaedic operation, such as joint replacement surgery and also for patients admitted following an acute traumatic injury.

We work in partnership within a multidisciplinary team to aid your recovery and to plan your follow on care needs.

Core Hours: Monday to Sunday 8:00 – 18:00

Musculoskeletal Outpatient Services:

  • Outpatient Physiotherapy Department, Level B, Chester Wing at Entrance 8, Sunderland Royal Hospital

Our team will assess and treat patients in the out-patient department who require follow on care after an orthopaedic injury, operation or on discharge from the ward. We also treat patients referred from other specialties with a wide range of muscle, bone and joint problems.

Core Hours: Monday – Friday 08:00 – 17:00

Thursday 19:00 – 20:00 Ankylosing Spondylitis Self Help Group

Referral: you are able to access physiotherapy with a referral from ward staff, specialist nurses and Consultants. We also accept referrals from GPs for some specialist services.

Self-referral: you are able to self-refer to physiotherapy for the Ankylosing Spondylitis group held in the Orthopaedic Gym every Thursday evening at 19:00.

Your first appointment is an assessment by a qualified Physiotherapist, to enable this you may be asked to partly undress. We will discuss how your symptoms are affecting you and we will start to put together a treatment plan. This appointment may take 40 minutes; follow up appointments will be shorter than this.

Please contact the department if you have a preference to be treated by a male or a female Physiotherapist

Please bring with you:

  • List of current medication.
  • Medication and refreshments you need in case of an unforeseen delay.
  • Splints.
  • Some patients find it useful to write a few questions in advance of the appointment.
  • Wear loose fitting, comfortable clothing and supportive footwear.

We welcome your feedback and suggestions. We believe that your feedback can add value to the care that you are given and help to shape future services.

Please click on the link below to go to further information relating to how you can leave feedback on your care

Friends and Family Test

Specialist Services


Key Contact:

Highly Specialist Physiotherapist Knee Service: Lisa Irving


The knee works like a modified hinge joint and is the largest joint in the body. It is a complex arrangement of bones, muscles, ligaments and cartilage which are all essential to allow movement, stability and function.


Our team works in collaboration within the Orthopaedic multidisciplinary team to ensure that the patient sees the right person at the right time.

How physiotherapy helps

  • Assess and diagnose a variety of musculoskeletal conditions
  • Provide advice + education on your condition
  • Focus on improving movement, strength and control through gentle exercise in an attempt to restore and/or improve function.
  • Help you to improve your mobility through gait re-education and the provision of walking aids/equipment such as sticks, crutches and braces.
  • Enable and empower you to be able to self-manage your condition

Useful links

Arthritis Research

Arthritis Research UK, Knee Pain

Arthritis Research UK, Osteoarthritis of the Knee

Arthritis Research UK, Knee Replacement Surgery

The Charted Society of Physiotherapy

Kinetic Revolution

Knee Guru


Key Contact

Highly Specialist Physiotherapist Shoulder Service: Debbie Watson


The shoulder is one of the most complicated joints. It is made up of 4 joints and is known as the shoulder complex.

The shoulder complex allows the arm to move freely, therefore this joint is less stable compared to other joints in the body. The shoulder complex's stability is provided by the ligaments and muscle surrounding the joint.


All patients following Shoulder joint replacement, Shoulder Stabilisation and Rotator Cuff repair often following Day Case surgery will require a rehabilitation programme. We also see many over-use injuries, fractures and arthritic conditions affecting the whole shoulder complex.

How physiotherapy helps

  • Assess and diagnose a variety of musculoskeletal conditions
  • Provide advice + education on your condition
  • Focus on improving movement, strength and control through gentle exercise in an attempt to restore and/or improve function
  • Enable and empower you to be able to self-manage your condition

Useful links

Arthritis UK: Shoulder pain

Chartered Society of Physiotherapy: Shoulder exercise

Chartered Society of Physiotherapy: Shoulder pain

Shoulder Doc

Limb reconstruction

Key contacts

Highly Specilaist Physiotherapists: Dawn Lockey, Carol Lewis


Orthopaedic limb reconstruction may be required for some congenital disorders or for an acquired post traumatic deformity affecting the lower limbs.


Our team works in collaboration within the Orthopaedic multidisciplinary team of Specialist Orthopaedic Surgeons and specialist nurses treating patients from birth to adulthood. Corrective surgery may be required and this may involve a system of internal or external fixators and limb lengthening procedures.

How physiotherapy helps

  • Educate patients (and their families if necessary) on appropriate treatment and self- management strategies
  • Support parents whose child has been diagnosed with hip and foot orthopaedic conditions
  • Act as a resource and point of contact for parents of children referred to the Limb Reconstruction Service
  • Provide advice and exercise devised to achieve maximum potential and function
  • Gait re-education
  • Strengthen and condition
  • Joint mobilisation

Useful links



Key Contact

Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist: Gill Gatenby


The hand is a highly complex area of the body which requires expert assessment and rehabilitation following injury. Muscle and tendon injuries, fractures or joint replacement surgery to the wrist, thumb and finger joints will be looked after by this team.


We work closely with Specialist Orthopaedic Surgeons, Specialist Nurses and Occupational Therapists. Often patients will see their surgeon and have physiotherapy all on the same visit.

How Physiotherapy helps

  • Regain strength and range of movement after a fracture or following surgery involving your wrist or hand
  • To reduce your pain from inflammation and swelling following a soft tissue injury
  • Reduce the sensitivity and pain from scar tissue
  • To advise you how to manage long term conditions such as Osteoarthritis or Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • To guide you to return to your former activities such as sport or work

Useful links

Harry Belcher Hand Surgeon

Mike Hayton Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

Dupuytrens UK


Key contact

Highly Specialist Physiotherapist Spinal Service: Lisa Wilson


A mechanical dysfunction can affect the cervical, thoracic or lumbar spine causing pain and a loss of movement. This may be congenital or due to traumatic injury, postural stresses, part of the aging process or due to other mechanical changes.


Physiotherapy is an important element to understanding and managing your condition. In some instances spinal surgery may be necessary to treat pain and prevent pressure or damage to the nerves as they exit from the spinal cord.

How physiotherapy helps

  • Reduce pain
  • Improve activity and function
  • Help you understand the cause and nature of your pain
  • Help you to manage your condition
  • Help you to maximise your movement potential

Useful links

Arthritis Research UK: Lower back pain

Arthritis Research UK: Neck pain

Chartered Society of Physiotherapy: Myth busters

Chartered Society of Physiotherapy: Treatment options

NICE guidelines: Lower back pain

NHS Back Pain Advice

NHS Neck Pain Advice

Women's health

Key contact

Highly Specialist Physiotherapist: Lesley Guy


Physiotherapy is the first line treatment in the management of urinary incontinence. We also provide a specialist service to women before and after childbirth, following breast surgery and to women with Urogynaecological problems. These include :

  • Pelvic organ prolapse
  • Urinary frequency, urgency and incontinence
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Bowel dysfunction
  • Perineal, Episiotomy and caesarean section scarring
  • Vaginal pain including Vaginismus and Vulvodynia
  • Sexual dysfunction


These can be particularly sensitive and distressing issues and our specialist team will guide patients through their physiotherapy programme in liaison with Gynaecology, Uro-gynaecology and GUM.

How physiotherapy helps

  • Improve your confidence to manage your condition
  • Bladder retraining
  • Improve the function of your pelvic floor muscles
  • Reduce your pain
  • Improve your quality of life

Useful links

Bladder and Bowel Foundation

Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

NHS Choices Incontinence/ Menopause advice

Pelvic Obstetric and Gynaecological Physiotherapists group

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologist – Advice for Patients

Squeezy: The NHS Physiotherapy App for pelvic floor exercises

Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity

Urinary Incontinence in Women NICE guidance

Vulval Pain Society Advice for patients

Women’s Health Concerns – advice page

Sunderland Royal Hospital

Kayll Road, Sunderland, Tyne & Wear, SR4 7TP

Tel: 0191 565 6256

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Sunderland Eye Infirmary

Queen Alexandra Road, Sunderland, Tyne & Wear, SR2 9HP

Tel: 0191 565 6256

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