After graduating with a BSc Honours degree at Durham University, Anna went on to complete an MSc degree in physiotherapy at Brighton University. She then worked at Frimley Park Hospital for over 3 years, and as a Senior Physiotherapist deputised as Clinical Lead for the inpatient and outpatient amputee service. Anna subsequently moved to one of London’s major teaching hospitals, working as a Senior Physiotherapist at Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital for a further 3 years. There she continued to develop her rehabilitation skills, working with trauma and post-operative patients on the Intensive Care Unit and surgical wards, and was also involved in lecturing on the King’s College University Physiotherapy Programme. Currently, Anna specialises in amputee rehabilitation alongside her work at Waldegrave Clinic and has a particular interest in gait re-education, functional rehabilitation and running specific rehabilitation. She is a qualified APPI Pilates instructor and has a Diploma in Sports Massage. Anna is also involved in annual triathlon camps overseas where she works as a coach and physiotherapist.
Anna’s love of exercise is reflected in her personal life; she is a keen triathlete, regularly competing in standard and middle-distance events and previously played football at a high level.
What led you into wanting to become a chiropractor/ physio?
It combines many of the things I love – sports and exercise, human anatomy and movement, working with people to help them maintain or return to good health and achieve their goals. I have also benefitted hugely from other physiotherapists throughout my life as I have encountered various sports injuries.
What has surprised you most about the profession as a practitioner?
The scope of the profession. I started my career in a hospital setting, mainly on intensive care providing rehabilitation for people recovering from critical illness. I then moved into amputee rehabilitation, helping people to walk again, use muscles in their shoulders and upper arm to control prosthetic hands and I trained both recreational and elite athletes to return to running, cycling and other sports. There is so much overlap in the different specialities that my professional journey has shaped me into a holistic practitioner, considering the interplay between different bodily systems and psychological, physical and social factors.
What have been the unexpected hurdles you have had to face?
Working on Intensive Care through the pandemic was something I never could have anticipated. Whilst it was devastating in so many ways, it was a privilege to be part of an incredible NHS healthcare team and be able to use my expertise to help people suffering.
What have been the unexpected benefits you have enjoyed?
I think the greatest benefits come from working with people and being involved in their ambitions, goals and progression. Physiotherapy is an ever-evolving profession with new evidence and research constantly being produced. As someone who loves to learn and develop their clinical practise in line with current research, the constant opportunity to learn has also been a great benefit!
What will always bring a smile to my face?
Helping a lady who lost both her legs to sepsis to ride a bike again was a special moment. There are also a couple of patients whose journeys really stick with me from my time working on Intensive Care; from helping them to breathe whilst fighting critical illness, strengthening muscles and preserving joint motion during prolonged bed rest, getting them sitting up and then walking again through to functional rehabilitation to prepare them to return home and return to work and hobbies.
What glimpse of wisdom can you offer about health/ the body
I have become more and more aware through my career and own experience with injury of how interconnected our emotion/psychological state is with our recovery from injury. The impact stress, sleep, diet and our general wellbeing has on both injury prevention and recovery is huge!
Outside of work, what do you enjoy in life?
Anything involving sports and the outdoors! I tend to compete in a few triathlons each year and love outdoor swimming, long cycles in the wilderness, tennis and squash. I love combining exercise with catching up with friends followed by a good pub lunch.
What will always bring a smile to your face?
Seeing other people thrive, enjoying life and able to do the things they love. Combining time with close friends and being outdoors/doing exercise is a pretty dreamy combination for me!