Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Clinic, Islington, London

Aches, Pains & Strains

We realise that many conditions and symptoms are difficult to diagnose and classify - indeed, that is often why you’re coming to us, for a diagnosis.

This could come under the banner the ‘Aches & Pains clinic’ and we are very happy to see you for these kinds of complaints.

Many sprains and soft tissue pains are also not sports-related and people often think that Physiotherapists can only help if you’re involved in sport. This is definitely NOT the case.

Often a full biomechanical assessment of your movement, strength and muscle balance can provide clues as to why you’re suffering with these symptoms and we can advise you on management techniques such as dealing with such symptoms during exercise or at work and also corrective strategies and exercises to improve and even banish them where possible.

Early management of these problems can also prevent more complex injuries or symptoms further down the line. People often report the slow build-up of symptoms that they think will ‘go away by themselves’ but then find, as time goes on, that they can get worse or more intrusive or indeed change to a related, but different symptom somewhere else.

In our experience, the earlier we get involved in sorting out these issues the more straight-forward the solution is, and the faster the whole process of rehabilitation and getting you back to your best.

If you are not sure what the next step should be or if you need further investigations, a specialist physiotherapy assessment can help direct the process and we can then liaise with your GP if necessary to advise on the most appropriate next step.

Please feel free to ring to speak to one of our physiotherapists if you have further queries as to whether our services are appropriate for you.

Aches, Pains & Strains Case Studies (see all Case Studies)

Potential clients and patients often ask us about the types of conditions that we treat and can help with. We have therefore put together some case studies from our files that outline some of the cases that we have been able to help with and offer a flavour of what we do in our clinic.

10 year old boy with heel pain

Symptoms & Assessment

  • 10 year-old schoolboy playing a minimal amount of sport at school
  • Pain and moderately sized swelling/lump over the back of the right heel
  • Had started to spread up into the calf and down into the sole of his foot. 
  • Aggravated by playing football, running and walking.
  • His GP had X-rayed the foot to clear a bony tumour, and then referred him to the clinic, with Sever’s Disease as the suspected condition (common condition causing heel pain during growth spurts in children)
  • On assessment walking with a limp and turning his foot out to the side to avoid putting a full stretch on his calf
  • Also stiff big toe (possibly from kicking a heavy piece of furniture a couple of months before), a tight sole of the foot and tight calf on that side.
  • Lower ankle joint also stiff and absorbing less impact as a result.  His football boots were found to be slightly tight due to a recent growth spurt.


Self management strategies with some in-clinic treatments.

  • Home: Ice, Anti inflammatory gel, no tight footwear for school (and none at all at home), new football boots, home stretches for the calf and foot
  • Clinic: Soft tissue release to sole of foot, tight toe tendons and calf
  • Joint mobilisations for heel and big toe joint
  • Progressive calf loading exercises.


After the first week, his symptoms had reduced by 50% and he was re-treated as before. 

Then another week of self-management, during which he restarted playing football.  Reviewed at the 2 week period with no symptoms and a much smaller heel lump.  Some stiffness remained in the calf and the forefoot, so these were re-treated and he was then sent away with an ongoing plan and to call a week later with an update.

A week later, there were no pains on playing football, running and other strenuous activities and the lump was almost non-existent.  He was then discharged with an ongoing set of stretches to do, bearing in mind his current growth patterns. 

He remained pain-free at the 6 week stage.

63 year old primary school teacher with foot pain

Symptoms & assessment

  • 63 year old teacher - on her feet a lot
  • Regular gym and running (up to 5 kms)
  • 4 month history of right forefoot pain and swelling
  • Keen to have check-up, diagnosis and advice on exercises to fix it
  • Assessment showed moderate swelling in the web space between the 1st and 2nd toes, marked stiffness of the right 1st toe and also right hip into internal rotation and stiffness of the mid-spine. Slight swelling of both knees were also noticed even though client had no knee symptoms.
  • Diagnosis: biomechanical contribution to overloading onto big toe -possible early degenerative changes at big toe and also knees (family history).


  • Aimed at improving the mobility of the mid-spine, hip and big toe along with a strengthening programme for the muscles around the hip. Strengthening exercises were also shown for the knees to lessen loading on the joints
  • Client worked on the home exercise programme and attended for a few sessions of joint mobilisation and soft tissue release for the toe.


Swelling resolved in knees and toe. Residual but improving toe stiffness. Back to normal exercise routine.

70 year old woman with chronic lower back/leg pain due to arthritis

Symptoms & Assessment

A 70-year old woman with chronic lower back and leg pain due to degenerative changes (arthritis) in her spine attended for treatment.


She was recommended to try Clinical Pilates in a bid to try and avoid surgery.

She completed a 6-week programme of Clinical Pilates and then continued with a tailor-made home exercise programme.



She became pain-free and reported that her mobility had improved significantly.

43 year old with neck/back pain after long periods in front of computer

Symptoms & Assessment

A 43-year-old man presented with longstanding neck and upper back pain which he felt was related to long hours spent sitting at a computer for his work.

Assessment showed weakness of his neck and upper back muscles.


He enrolled on a 6-week Clinical Pilates course carried out on a one-to-one basis here at the clinic.

The main focus was to strengthen the body’s natural corset muscles to help support the neck and back during prolonged hours sitting at a desk.


The results were fantastic and he now has very little pain and an ongoing home-maintenance exercise plan.

26 year old office worker with migraines, neck and shoulder pain

Symptoms & Assessment

  • Persistent headaches in particular after long hours of working at the computer
  • Neck and shoulder pain particularly bothersome when sitting at the desk over a long period of time


She was treated with a combination of soft and deep tissue massage and mobilisations to her shoulders in side-lying position.  She was also advised to take regular breaks when working on the computer and engage in regular yoga practice to monitor stress levels


This client is finding a regular massage session helpful and feels better after every session. She is now able to manage her work related stresses and experiences fewer spells of migraines than before. 

29 year-old runner with knee pain

Symptoms & Assessment

A keen runner who was preparing for the marathon attended the clinic complaining of knee pain following increasing his running distance.

On examination, the source of the pain was found to be under the kneecap. Tightness of the thigh muscles and poor leg control were also identified as possible contributing factors.

Treatment and Outcome

During the appointment, the client was treated with soft tissue release and stretches. He was given home exercises to help improve his leg control while running. He was also advised on how much running load he could undertake on the following days and how he could optimise his training in preparation for the event.

Taking everything on board, he successfully completed the marathon he was scheduled for and was planning to continue his stretches and home exercises to prevent recurrence.

"I just want to say thank you for looking after me. I hope - in the nicest possible way of course - that I won't be seeing you again too soon!"


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Established in 1998