Rehabilitation and healthcare maintenance is an integral part of health and social care delivery; extending from acute hospital based care through to care within the community. It encompasses the recovery, maintenance of function and prevention of avoidable complications in people who have resolving conditions (such as low back pain, head injury or stroke), and those whose condition is long-term, static or deteriorating (such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinsons disease, diabetes or arthritis). 

Our research in this area reflects the priority given by health and social care services to provide evidence based management of people with these broad ranging conditions.

Rehabilitation Research Group: current and future work

Research into disability and rehabilitation, and prevention and management takes place under the aegis of a cross-faculty group that also involves researchers in the Peninsula Medical School and the local NHS. Its focus is to investigate a broad range of issues, extending from the underlying mechanisms of disability and secondary pathology, to the evaluation of rehabilitation interventions and orthotic devices designed to prevent or manage disability and disease complications across a range of conditions. The research being conducted provides an excellent mix of pathophysiology, behavioural science and health care practice, thus providing a good forum for scientists, health care professionals and service users to exchange ideas and develop new research ventures.

Research to date has focused on four main areas:

Understanding the underlying causes of functional difficulties:

  • Impact of impairments on function in people with central and peripheral neurological disease (Jon Marsden)
  • The effects of localised temperature changes on neuromuscular function in Hereditary Spastic Paraparesis and Multiple Sclerosis (Amanda Austin)
  • Sensory mechanisms of balance impairment in cerebellar disease (Lisa Bunn)
  • Muscle function in people with Parkinson's Disease (Bernhard Haas)
  • The effects of foot and ankle impairments on mobility and balance in adults post stroke: a personal and multidisciplinary approach (Terry Gorst)
  • BEUP: Balance control and the effect of ankle foot orthoses in people with diabetic peripheral neuropathy (Jon Marsden)

Evaluating the effectiveness of whole-care packages and targeted interventions

  • BEUP: Development and clinical evaluation of a new dual purpose insole used for ulcer prevention and balance-enhancement in neuropathic individuals with diabetes  (Joanne Paton)
  • BEUP: INsTEP – INSoles To Ease Pressure: a mixed methods feasibility study (Richard Collings)
  • Developing lycra orthoses to accelerate return to sport after lumbo-pelvic injury (Jon Marsden
  • Pilates based core stability training in multiple sclerosis (Jenny Freeman)
  • The effects of foot and ankle joint mobilisation combined with a home programme of ankle stretches on joint range of motion and forefoot peak plantar pressures in people with diabetic peripheral neuropathy: a randomised controlled trial (Vasileios Lepesis)

Understanding mechanisms underlying rehabilitation and factors affecting prognosis

Development and evaluation of service delivery

Our researchers