Mr Alec Rickard

Mr Alec Rickard

Associate Head of School (Teaching and Learning)

School of Health Professions (Faculty of Health)

Mr Alec Rickard can be contacted through arrangement with our Press Office, to speak to the media on these areas of expertise.
  • Chronic pain
  • Physiotherapy
  • Back pain
  • Pain management
  • Musculoskeletal conditions


I am currently the programme lead for the MPhysio (Hons) Physiotherapy programme, having previously led the BSc (Hons) programme. I have also previously been the admissions and year-1 stage tutor for many years, plus I am also the academic liaison person for Plymouth University's validated courses at the British College of Osteopathic Medicine (BCNO), London. I have experience of multi- and inter-disciplinary teaching and support of students from various other programmes, including the MSc Advanced Professional Practice and Non-Medical Prescribing programmes and also previously acted as programme lead for the DipHE in Operating Department Practice.

In addition to teaching, I also continue to support health professions students on clinical placement and undergraduate and postgraduate research. I am regularly involved with extra curricular and outreach activities, which has previously included organising the physiotherapy service at the Plymouth Half Marathon and the pilot Occupational Health Physiotherapy Clinic for University staff.

I have also undertaken various other roles within the University, such as a member of the Professional Issues Committee of the Faculty of Health and been the Faculty's representative on the Recruitment and Admissions Committee and the Qualifications sub-group, assisting in the guidance for the adoption of new qualifications and Disclosure and Barring Service processes. 

Prior to joining the University, I worked in various positions as a physiotherapist in the NHS, specialising in the management of chronic pain and developing an Extended Scope Practitioner role within a local Pain Clinic.


1997    BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy, University of Hertfordshire

2006    General Teaching Associate’s course (LTHE300 module), University of Plymouth, 
             (leading to 'Associate of the Higher Education Academy')

2007    Post Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, University of Plymouth

2014  MSc in Health and Social Care Education

Clinical background
1997 - 1999  Rotational Junior Physiotherapist, Northwick Park Hospital, Harrow

1998 - 2000  Physiotherapist, Wembley Mill Hill Ladies Football Club, London

1999 - 2000  Senior II Physiotherapist, Musculoskeletal Outpatients, Northwick Park Hospital, Harrow

2000 - 2001  Senior II Physiotherapist, Musculoskeletal Outpatients/Pain Management, Torbay Hospital, Torquay

2001 - 2003  Senior I Physiotherapist, Pain Management, Torbay Hospital, Torquay

2003 - 2005  Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist (and Extended Scope Practitioner) in Pain Management, Derriford Hospital, Plymouth

Professional membership

1997-to date Registered Physiotherapist with Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC – formerly HPC and CPSM)

1997-to date Member of Chartered Society in Physiotherapy (MCSP)

2001-to date Member of the Physiotherapy Pain Association

2003 - 2010 Member of the British Pain Society

2007-to date Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Roles on external bodies

2007-to date    CSP - moderator for the admissions tutors' network on iCSP
2007-to 2012  CSP admissions tutor’s forum; Vice chair 2010-11 and Chair 2011-12
2008-2009       Aimhigher/SWLLLN: Higher Education Advocate for the Society, Health and Development Diploma

2012-to 2014  Invited member CSP e-learning strategy steering group

2017-to date  CSP South West Regional Network committee (Chair from 2021) 



Teaching interests

BSc (Hons) /MPhysio (Hons) / MSc pre-registration Physiotherapy
 - Module lead for various module over the years, including Anatomy & Physiology, Applied Movement Science and Movement in Health and Disease 
 - teaching/facilitating: Muscoloskeletal, Complex Case Management and Problem-Based Learning/Enquiry Based Learning  


EOE3414 Sports Injuries

MSc Work and Wellbeing - Module lead WWB503 Facilitating change: the person, work and environment

MSc Advanced Professional Practice (Work and Wellbeing) - module lead ADV701 Contemporary Issues in Work and Wellbeing

Masterclasses (condition management/return to work)

Non-medical prescribing/Supplementary Prescribing for Health Professionals (Associate tutor) - level 6 and 7

Staff serving as external examiners

2016-2019   BS(Hons) Physiotherapy, Manchester Metropolitan University

2020- to date MSc Physiotherapy (pre-registration), Univeristy of Hertfordshire




Lepesis, V., Marsden, J., Paton, J., Rickard, A., & Latour, J. M. (2022). Experiences of foot and ankle mobilisations combined with home stretches in people with diabetes: a qualitative study embedded in a proof-of-concept randomised controlled trial. Journal of foot and ankle research, 15(1), 7.


Rickard, A. (2017) Chapter 2: The Biopsychosocial Model: An Overview, in Porter, S. (Ed.) Psychologically Informed Physiotherapy. Elsevier.

Chamberlain, A. Munro, W. & Rickard, A. (2013) Chapter 14: Muscle imbalance in Porter, S. (Ed.) Tidy’s Physiotherapy. 15th ed. Churchill Livingstone, DOI

Conference Papers

Walsh E., Barrett J., Beeson J., Zammit M., Rickard A. (2017) A randomised crossover trial investigating actual and perceived changes in peak knee extensor torque following Kinesio Tape® application. Poster (and Rapid 5 presentation) at Physiotherapy UK 2017, Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, Birmingham.

Rickard, A.G. (2007) Living with chronic pain. Invited speaker to the Lupus UK Annual National Convention, Plymouth, May 2007. Printed in Lupus UK News.


Rickard, A.G. (2007) The use of online conferencing/managed learning environments to support PBL. Presentation to HEA Subject Centre for Health Sciences and Practice PBL SIG meeting 'The use of technology to enrich PBL', Carlisle, 03/2007.

Presentations and posters

Lepesis, V., Marsden, J, Letour, J., Paton, J & Rickard, A. (2023) Foot and ankle mobilisation in diabetic peripheral neuropathy: single site, proof-of-concept (PoC), assessor blinded randomized controlled trial (RCT). Poster presentation, 9th International Symposium on the Diabetic Foot, 10-13 May 2023, The Hague, The Netherlands.


Walsh E., Barrett J., Beeson J., Zammit M., Rickard A. (2017) A randomised crossover trial investigating actual and perceived changes in peak knee extensor torque following Kinesio Tape® application. Poster (and Rapid 5 presentation) at Physiotherapy UK 2017, Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, Birmingham.

Rickard, A. (2017) The experiences and expectations of return-to-work input in people with chronic pain: are we progressing? Poster at the South West AHP conference 15.3.17, Taunton.


Rickard, A.G. Tipping, L. & Westcott, L. (2010) Do you ask the work question? Poster at the NHS Southwest AHP conference (Awarded 2nd place), Bridgwater, 03/2010.


Rickard, A.G. & Yorke, J. (2008) ePBL: Investigating online resources to support problem based learning in physiotherapy education. Paper presentation at IASTED Web Based Education conference, March 2008, Innsbruck Austria (Abstract available at:


Knott, L. & Rickard, A. (2003) Integrating biopsychosocial assessment into care pathways for low back pain. Poster presentation at The Pain Society Annual Scientific Meeting, April 2003, Glasgow UK.



Other academic activities

2007-to date   Faculty Professional Issues Committee

2007 - 2011    Academic member of Torbay Care Trust Placement Development Team

2008 - 2011    Aimhigher Healthcare Strand Steering Group

2009 - 2012    University Recruitment and Admissions Committee Faculty representative and Qualifications sub-group committee member

2012-to date   Academic liaison officer for the British College of Osteopathic Medicine