Why is inflammation useful?

Inflammation is critical, as it starts the healing process. But too much can cause additional damage. Managing food helps to produce the right amount.

Acute injuries

Regardless of the type of injury, there’s usually damage to muscle, bone, and vascular tissue.  When these tissues are injured, they’re deprived of their normal flow of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood. Reduced blood flow, as well as the actual physical damage, leads to cell death.

The body then initiates the inflammatory process to clear out the damaged/dead cells and produce new ones.

Inflammation itself is stimulated by the increased movement of inflammatory/immune chemicals (leukocytes, neutrophils, macrophages, phagocytes, etc.) into the injured areas. 

These chemicals take care of the cellular debris and attract plasma (fluid from the blood) and blood proteins to the site of injury.

This biochemical process removes injured tissues and starts the repair process.

Although painful and irritating, we need the inflammatory process for repair. Without inflammation, injuries wouldn’t heal. 

Any attempt to eliminate inflammation is a mistake in the initial stages of an acute injury (stage 1).  Second - proliferation - and third - remodeling - phases replace the old, injured tissue with a stronger, temporary then more permanent tissue.

Chronic injuries

Excessive inflammation, especially if it’s prolonged, can lead to other problems, such as continued macrophage activity at the site of inflammation and ongoing tissue destruction. 

This is why inflammation management is an important concept in injury recovery.  It’s also why anti-inflammatory drugs are often prescribed by physicians during chronic pain, but anti-inflammatory foods can be also efficient, and safer. 

If your body need some anti-inflammatories for healing it will absorb all the anti-inflammatory nutrients from the recommended foods.

 

Pick your fats

During the initial phase of inflammation, you want to add fats like olive oil, avocados, fish oil, ground flax, mackerel/salmon/sardines, and mixed seeds/nuts.

Processed food - burgers, hot dogs, etc - and vegetable oils - corn, sunflower, etc - are better to be avoided

 

For next post  we will give you a list of foods to promote or avoid, and general guidelines for an anti-inflammatory diet.

 

What can cause back pain

Low back pain is the leading cause of disability in the world and 85% of us will experience back pain at some stage in our lives. 20-35% of those people will have pain that becomes persistent and limits sporting activity, physical function and the quality of a person’s life. A worrying trend is the more we spend on imaging, treatments, and medication, the chronic nature and cost of low back pain are increasing.

Low back pain can have different causes

Like most pain, low back pain is considered to be multifactorial in nature. Serious pathology such as cancer can be considered for 1-2% of patients, and specific pathology such as a fracture can be considered for 5-10%. This leaves close to 90% of patients having no definitive structural diagnoses.

At Hong Kong Sports Clinic we recognize that factors contributing to low back pain can be strongly associated with a variety of modifiable physical, lifestyle, psychological and neurophysiological factors.

Sport-specific factors

Training intensity, volume and technical aspects of sports are closely related to low back pain. These factors are deemed as extrinsic factors. Your clinician at Hong Kong Sports Clinic will attempt to understand as much as they can about these parameters so as they can adjust mechanics and training load appropriately to reduce pain but maintain training and/or sport if possible.

Lifestyle factors

Sedentary behavior, sudden increases in training, sleep deficits and excessive alcohol and smoking can all contribute to your pain and perception. We will educate you as much as possible about how to optimize your lifestyle in order to mitigate these factors.

Emotional factors

Stress, anxiety, depression, and anger can also further enhance pain mechanisms. We can also give advice as to how to understand and then control these factors through personalized management strategies.

At Hong Kong Sports Clinic we are progressive in our understanding of the multifactorial nature of back pain, and how we, as clinicians, can have a positive effect on managing these different factors.

BJJ: what you need to be careful about with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

We see people getting injured at BJJ on a regular basis. From our experience, neck and knees are the two most frequent areas of complaint. 

The neck

We so often like to target the neck during BJJ. Whether that’s a blood choke or some sort of neck crank, our neck is always going to be a point of vulnerability. 

So how do we prevent this debilitating injury when everyone is trying to rip your neck off? The key is knowing when and in what positions our neck is at most risk.

Times when you have to be careful:

  • Squirming your way out of powerful neck submissions e.g guillotine.
  • True neck cranks, where you feel immense pressure on your joints (as opposed to a choking feeling).
  • Getting stacked while you’re on the bottom.

The knees

Find me a wrestler with no knee injuries and you have yourself the ghost of a point. There is a reason why many leg locks are not allowed to be performed by white belts. A little bit of push and tug in the wrong direction and you have yourself a 3-month forced vacation from the gym. 

The dangerous thing about knee submissions is that once you feel the pain/discomfort, damage has most likely already been done. ACL, MCL, LCL, meniscus, patella dislocations are just some of the structures in the knee that can be injured during rolling. A tremendous amount of torque can be applied through the knee joint during a heel hook (as seen below) or a straight kneebar submission. The little ligaments in our knee cannot withstand that much force.

Times when you have to be careful:

  • Leg locks, make sure you roll the right way. Know when to concede and tap when you feel any discomfort.
  • During takedowns.

The most important rule of all – Learn when to tap. There is little point to waiting until the last microsecond to tap into a submission. So unless you’re Gordon Ryan and competing for the ADCC or Henry Cejudo competing for all the belts, tap to fight another day.

The concept of intuitive eating

Diets and restrictions are all over the place. Blogs, social medias, every week you read about this new miraculous method that will change your life forever.If you feel tired about all the different options available, maybe this is a good time for you to try intuitive eating.

 

10 principles of intuitive eating

 

Reject the Diet Mentality.

Throw out the diet books and magazine articles that offer you false hope of losing weight quickly, easily, & permanently. Say no to fad diets & rigid rules around eating. 

 

Honour Your Hunger.

Keep your body fed with adequate energy and carbohydrates. Don’t ignore your hunger cues. 

 

Make Peace with Food.

Restriction often leads to overeating, so give yourself permission to eat all the foods without guilt. 

 

Challenge the Food Police.

The Food Police (your psyche) monitor the unreasonable rules that dieting has created. Stop equating your worth to the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ you ate. 

 

Respect Your Fullness.

Listen to your body, assess your hunger levels during your meal and stop eating when full. 

 

Discover the Satisfaction Factor.

Food and the eating experience should promote pleasure and satisfaction. 

 

Honour Your Feelings Without Using Food.

Find ways to comfort, nurture, distract, and resolve your issues without using food. Search for the core of your emotional eating. 

 

Respect Your Body.

Accept your genetic blueprint and respect your body, so you can feel better about who you are.  Your worth does not increase as your size decreases. 

 

Exercise and Feel the Difference.

Shift your focus to how it feels to move your body, rather than the calorie burning effect of exercise. You don’t need to be at the gym, a walk in the park is a great option too. 

 

Honour Your Health.

You don’t have to eat a perfect diet to be healthy. Choose nutrient dense foods most of the time while allowing for some indulgences without guilt. 

Plantar heel pain – what is it and what to do about it

Definition.

1 in 10 of us will suffer from heel pain at some point in our lives and it most definitely something we are used to seeing here at Hong Kong Sports Clinic.

The most common cause of plantar heel pain is due to irritation or degeneration of the plantar fascia, often referred to as plantar fasciopathy or plantar fasciitits. The plantar fascia is a strong ligament-like structure that attaches from your heel bone and extends to the base of each of your toes. It acts as a shock absorber and helps support the arch of your foot when walking and running.

 

Features.

Common features of plantar fasciopathy are:

- Heel pain with the first few steps on getting out of bed or after sitting for a while that will ease the more you walk.

- Pain most commonly located at the insertion of plantar fascia onto the heel bone, sometimes with pain extending along the arch of your foot.

 

Causes.

Plantar fasciopathy is almost always the result of overuse or over-loading of the plantar fascia. Examples of this are:

- Runners who have increased their weekly mileage, or have added sprints or hill sessions into their training.

- A new job that involves standing for long periods during the day.

- Being overweight

Some people may not fit into any of the above scenarios and in these cases you might suspect that the capacity of their plantar fascia has reduced, with hormonal changes, getting older, and stress as potential contributors.

 

Treatment.

Treatment will normally involve managing how much you are loading the plantar fascia. If you are a runner this may involve having to reduce your mileage, or backing off from any sprinting or hill sessions. Strengthening and stretching exercises, in combination with ice, taping and looking at your footwear have also all been found to be helpful.

Unfortunately, there is no quick fix with plantar fasciopathy and you should expect at least a few weeks of rehab, with the more stubborn cases sometimes requiring a few months before you are totally pain-free. Studies have shown that if you’ve had pain for more than 7 months your prognosis is not as good, so don’t delay coming into the clinic to start treatment. 

The outcome is always better the quicker we can nip things in the bud!

Natural detoxification

Detoxification is the physiological removal of toxic substances from within your body. Your lymph and circulatory system detoxify your individual cells. Detoxification on a broader natural scale is carried out by your liver, kidneys and intestine. Other organs such as your bowel, lungs and skin also play a part in excreting toxins from your body.

What is Toxicity?

A chemical substance or a particular mixture of substances can damage your body in any way. A toxin is a poisonous substance to your body, which include heavy metals, pesticides, pollutants, GMO’s, food additives and many other chemicals. We can get these toxins from water we drink, the air we breathe, the food we eat, cleaning products etc. The accumulation of toxins in our body can increase chronic conditions such as asthma, allergies, cancer, mental conditions and many auto immune issues.

For example, when we eat non-organic meat, we also consume antibiotics, growth hormones, herbicides and pesticides. The recommendation is to eat organic grass-fed meat.

To Reduce the Consumption of Toxins:

Use air filters
Drink filtered water
Eat clean food
Use clean household cleaning products
Drink lots of water to help your body eliminate toxins

Top Foods for Natural Detoxification:

Chlorella- One of the top detoxifying foods. Full of: Phytonutrients, amino acids, chlorophyll, beta-carotene, potassium, vitamin A, protein, iron, zinc, magnesium, B-complex vitamins. It helps your body detox and get rid of heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, mercury, uranium, and keeps them from being reabsorbed.

Spirulina- Another superfood full of nutrients that offers strong detox support to your body. It is also a great antioxidant and anti-inflammatory foods which helps with cell oxidative damage. Full of: Protein, B complex vitamins, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, manganese.

Turmeric- Contains a phytochemical called curcumin. This amazing spice helps support detoxification for our body. It is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory spice. Curcumin helps the liver process metabolic waste and toxins. Turmeric contains 2-5% curcumin, taking curcumin supplements can be more efficient. Adding turmeric to your daily recipes will be a powerful tool for detox. Healthy fat found in coconut oil helps, the body absorb curcumin. That is why Golden Milk is a powerful drink to help with detox and inflammation.

Ginger- Full of antioxidants and is an anti-inflammatory spice. Ginger is another food to help your body detoxify and cleanse. It stimulates digestion, circulation and sweating, which are your body’s three ways to detox.

Leafy greens- These are great foods to support our body’s natural detoxification, so add them to as many meals as you can. Spinach, kale, Moringa leaf or powder, alfalfa leaf. These greens are full of minerals, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin K, C, E. All these nutrients help with detoxification.

Apples- Provide amazing detoxification support for the liver. Especially the Granny Smith green apples, which contain pectin and malic acid which help to get rid of toxins. It also helps remove the cholesterol and toxins from the blood. Organic apples are very important.

Broccoli sprouts- eat more broccoli, but especially broccoli sprouts. It contains sulforaphane, which fights malignant cancer cells in the body. Light cooking of cruciferous vegetables is even more efficient.

Beets- This is a great blood-cleansing and purifying food, which our liver loves. Beets help increase the nutrient production in our body. They are high in antioxidants and nutrients such as folate, pectin fiber, iron, betaine, betalain, betacyanin, and betanin.

Knee pain and running – part 2

Continuing on from our last post about knee pain when running, here are factors physiotherapists consider regarding your flexibility, strength, training and your running technique. 

 

Training 

Have there been any recent changes to your training? Often we find in our runners complaining of a new bout of knee pain, some kind of significant change to their training in the weeks prior. This can range from the more obvious factors - a jump in mileage, new shoes, to seemingly innocuous factors - a change in the surface run on, more hills. This isn’t limited to the gym though - suddenly including or dropping off certain exercises in the gym can often be a cause of knee pain in runners. 

 

Flexibility and Strength 

Deficits in the flexibility and strength of the muscles around not only your knee, but also your ankles, feet, and hips are a large risk factor developing knee pain. For example, a stiff lower back, tight hips or weak hamstrings and glutes may cause you to heel strike in front of your body and load up your kneecap more. Weak glutes can also cause your knee to roll in when you run – a very common cause of knee pain. 

 

Technique 

No two people will run the same, but there are general technical faults that can play a large role in their knee pain, for example overstriding, or allowing the knee to collapse inwards at heel strike or even over-rotating through the torso. Often these technical faults can be corrected with coaching and running drills alone, other times specific strength and flexibility drills are needed to fix these faults and fix the runner’s pain. 

 

So, for those you runners out there with sore knees, start to have a think about these factors and you might find yourself unraveling the mystery of your knee pain yourself! 

 

Stay tuned for our future blog post on things you can try to improve your knee pain.

Knee pain and running – part 1

You’re 7km into your weekend run. You’ve got your new running shoes on. You’re feeling fast, you’re in the zone.

And then you start to feel some soreness in your knee. The dreaded knee pain that you have heard so many of your fellow runners moan about, the knee pain that has taken forever to go away and disrupted their preparation for the next marathon.

Questions fill your mind - Will it get worse? Why am I getting this pain? Will it come back? Can I keep running? Why me?

Sounds familiar?

Knee pains are one of the most common injuries a runner will face. You may have heard of runners complaining of various pains, from the so-called ‘runner’s knee’ (patellofemoral pain syndrome) to patella tendinitis, or even that ITB pain everyone seems to talk about. With so many structures in the knee that can give runners pain, often the best course of action is to work with a physiotherapist who has experience in running injuries. The practitioner will identify the injured structure as well as what can the potential causative factors behind your pain be.

Here are some things your physiotherapist will delve into to solve the mystery of your knee pain.

Location

The next time you have pain whilst running, see if you can pinpoint where it is. Note if it is pain you can touch or if it is deep inside your knee. Is it a large area of pain or a fairly localized area? As there are many structures existing closely together in a small space, this information will help your physiotherapist narrow down and diagnose the injured structure.

Onset

How long can you run for before your pain comes on? Does it come on immediately or does it only come on at the 10km mark? Is at its worst immediately after your run, a long time after your run, or the next morning?

Aggravating and Relieving Factors

Is your pain worse when climbing hills or on declines? Is it better when running on grass than on the road? Are the movements in the gym or in your daily life that stir up your pain?

Is there anything you can do yourself to improve your knee pain, for instance, foam rolling your quads, pushing more with your toes, or increasing your cadence?

As well as helping diagnosis of your exact injury, this information can assist the physiotherapist in finding ways to continue doing the things you love but have set aside because of knee pain.

Part two will look into how your training, flexibility, strength and running technique could play a part in your knee pain. Stay tuned!

The importance of sleep

Key facts about sleeping

Understanding sleep, the power of it and how to get as much high-quality sleep as possible is one of the healthiest things we can do. Sleep is a naturally recurring state. It is restorative, and without it we are not able to work, learn, create and communicate at our highest level. With time, lack of sleep can lead to mental and physical breakdown. Sleep has also been shown to be linked to the immune system. When we sleep, our metabolic rates reduce and free radical production is decreased, allowing restorative processes to take over. Sleep supports higher-level cognition functions such as decision making, reasoning and memory.

Effects of sleep deprivation

Everyone experiences trouble sleeping from time to time but problems may occur when regular disturbances happen frequently and these can begin to affect your daily life.

The most common effects of lack of sleeping include: fatigue & lethargy, foggy mind, reduced creativity and problem-solving skills, concentration and memory problems, difficulty making decisions, reduced immunity, frequent colds and infections, increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, & other health problems, lack of motivation, inability to cope with stress, moodiness and irritability, impaired motor skills & increased risk of accidents.

 

How much sleep do we need

There is no protocol to how many hours of sleep we should get, the best way to evaluate it is to monitor how we feel throughout the day. If energy is low, memory is poor and we don’t feel alert, then chances are we need more sleep. Adults usually will beneficiate the most from 7 to 9 hours of sleep. The jump from 6 to 7 daily hours of sleeping has a significant impact on our health and wellbeing.

 

How to sleep better

Good nutrition habits can drastically improve sleep quality, particularly in the last hours before bed. Consider the following: avoid eating large meals before bed, avoid drinking too much liquid, avoid alcohol, avoid caffeine in the latter part of the day, and exercise daily.

Reducing stress can help to get a better nights sleep: write down any problems or issues on paper, conduct some deep breathing techniques, keep the bedroom clean and tidy, use meditation and relaxation techniques, have a hot shower or bath, avoid any stressing tasks or thoughts before bed, do something you enjoy before bed.

Prepare the bedroom for sleep: ensuring the bedroom is optimized for relaxing, unwinding and sleeping is essential. Get your bedroom ready: eliminate noises that may disturb your sleep, keep bedroom at the right temperature (18-22C), ensure the room is dark enough, remove all electronic devices, ensure your bed is comfortable enough.

Nutritional Tips for Healthy Vegan Diet

Plant-based and vegan diets are getting more and more popular.

Vegan diets are very healthy and are very helpful with weight loss and weight control. Following a plant-based diet can be nutritionally healthy for many people, but a vegan diet is a bit more restricted. Depending on your body type and exercise intensity, if you are following a nice vegan diet, you have to make sure that you focus on balancing your diet with all the specific nutrients that vegan people tend to get depleted of to help support your physical health. For People who do regular training or intense exercise it can lead to some suppressed immune function by increasing natural killer cells and neutrophil function. This impact on the immune system can increase the risk of bacterial infection, which can also cause some illnesses. On the other hand, if your vegan diet is well balanced, then your well-planned vegan diet will be highly beneficial to help nourish the body with plant-based foods. Many ultra-runners and athletes following a balanced-vegan diet, see a great increase in their performance and energy level, faster recovery and overall well-being. Vegan people need to focus on seven primary nutrients, vitamins and minerals that are often lower in plant-based diets.

 

Vegan Primary Nutrients, Vitamins and Minerals

 

  1. Protein: This nutrient is a vital part of an athlete’s diet or even more sedentary people, to help with muscle recovery and energy, and body refuelling. Often people following a vegan diet tend to feel hungrier. Not eating any animal foods makes it a bit more challenging to include enough protein with all the required amino acids. The recommended option to eat enough plant-based protein nutrients and amino acids, is to include a great variety of plant-based protein foods in your daily diet.

 

Protein-Rich Food Sources

 Tempeh

 Tofu

 Nuts and Seeds

 Hemp seeds, flour

 Beans

 Legumes

 Soy

 Unsweetened soy milk or almond milk

 Plant-based protein powder

 

  1. Healthy Fat: This nutrient is crucial for our body to absorb certain nutrients, help with recovery, have anti-inflammatory properties, help reduce the hunger and provide some energy for training. Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial nutrients for anti-inflammation and help speed up repair of soft tissue damage and recovery.

 Healthy Fat Food Sources

 Extra virgin oil

 Avocado oil

 Avocado

 Flax seed meal, oil

 Hemp seeds, Hemp seed oil

 Chia seeds

 

      3.Iron: Adequate iron intake is critical for runners, especially long-distance or intense training. Iron is used to transport oxygen to muscles, often after running long-distance races our body gets depleted of several vitamins and minerals including iron. Women athletes have higher issues of iron deficiency. Without enough iron our muscles feel weak, our breathing is challenging, especially when running uphill. To sustain the iron absorption, you need to include some high vitamin C foods with the high iron foods. 

 

Iron-Rich Foods Sources

 Green leafy vegetables- Spinach, kale, Swiss chard

 Beans

 Legumes

 Tofu

 Tempeh

 Vegetables- Tomatoes, potatoes, mushrooms, broccoli

 Fruits- Prunes, olives, mulberries

 

      4.Calcium: Calcium is essential for bone health and muscle function. Including calcium-rich foods in your daily diet is important. Some plant-based calcium-rich foods also contain components such as oxalic or phytic acids which can reduce the ability of the body to absorb the calcium (spinach and soy beans) When you eat these foods, ake sure you include other calcium-rich foods in your meal.

 

Calcium-Rich Food Sources

 Green leafy vegetables

 Nuts- Almonds

 Seeds- Sesame seeds

 Figs

 

        5.Vitamin D: These days up to 80% of the population is depleted of vitamin D. This vitamin is necessary for bone health, calcium absorption and muscle function, as well as energy levels. Runners and athletes following a strict vegan diet might consider being tested for vitamin D deficiency, to see if adding a vitamin D supplement is required. Most of the vitamin D rich foods are animal based.

 

Vitamin D-Rich Foods

 Mushrooms

 Unsweetened soy milk

 

       6. Vitamin B12: This vitamin is necessary for DNA synthesis and nervous system function. Once our body is depleted of vitamin B12 the side effects include neurological damage and increased risk of heart disease. Vitamin B12 sources are only found in animal-based foods. It is important for people following a vegan diet to include some daily vitamin B12 supplements.

 

       7. Iodine: Due to today’s soil depletion, most plant-based foods are very low in iodine, which is necessary for the thyroid function. According to some research, 80% of vegans tend to be deficient in iodine. A good option is to take a multi vitamin that contains iodine and other vitamins and minerals as a good back up.

 

Iodine-Rich Food Source

 Seaweed

 

Final words

When following a vegan diet, make sure you focus on including foods and supplements containing all the vitamins and minerals vegans tend to get depleted of to support an overall health. A healthy vegan diet will have many benefits in terms of providing antioxidants, faster recovery, and reducing the risk of chronic disease.

Joseph March
Founder and Physiotherapist

After graduating from university in Australia, Joseph had solid exposure in a wide range of areas including professional sports, neurological, pediatrics, gerontology, and rehabilitation.

Joseph has over a decade of experience in Hong Kong, specializing in rehabilitation of musculoskeletal and sports injuries. He has treated issues related to pregnancy, desk jobs, as well as the unique injuries that come with a variety of athletic pursuits.

He has partnered with the Hong Kong Football Club as the performance squad physiotherapist, as well as the Hong Kong Ballet as the consulting physiotherapist.

Joseph’s hobby outside of work is the pursuit of a better functioning body. This has led him to delve deeply into many types of exercise and performance training. He has years of experience in Olympic weight lifting, movement training, powerlifting, yoga, pilates and strength, and conditioning. Through his own journey, Joseph has positioned himself well to understand other bodies and across a wide range of exercise and sport.

In the past Joseph competed at a high level in football and long distance running.

Cardeux Nel
Senior Physiotherapist

Cardeux represented South Africa and attained her first karate world championship medals at the age of 11. Cardeux’s other sport of interest is field hockey, which she has also played at a national level. From a young age, she attended physiotherapy to enhance performance and recovery. Understanding the importance of this stimulated her to pursue a career in helping others.

After graduating from The University of The Free State in South Africa, Cardeux spent a few years working in private practice as well as gaining experience in sports physiotherapy. She assisted with the Springboks in the lead up to the 2015 Rugby World Cup and worked at the Comrades Marathon for 4 consecutive years.

Cardeux’s treatment is focused on exercise, education and a holistic therapy approach. As a keen trail runner, she specializes in performing full running assessments, both clinical and video. She has also completed her post-graduate course in Dry Needling which she provides as part of her treatments.

Cardeux spends her time off continuing to pursue sports-related endeavors. She is captain of the Valley Premier women’s field hockey team, coaches running, and manages the Hong Kong Sports Clinic running team. She also extends her passion for the sport by giving back, as a member of WISE HK – Helping empower, educate and connect women and girls through sport in Hong Kong.

Elaine Leung
Principle Chiropractor

Elaine completed her chiropractic training at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia with a Bachelor’s degree in Chiropractic Science and Master’s degree in Chiropractic. She then moved to Hong Kong to pursue her career and to promote the importance of health and the work-life balance.

Coming from a family of martial artist and traditional Chinese lion dancers, Elaine also developed an interest in Muay Thai, BJJ and weight training. This of course also comes with some injuries which have always been managed with chiropractic.

Her long interest and love for animals have then lead her to complete a Certificate in Animal Chiropractic in the USA to enable her to provide care for animals as she does for people. She is passionate about getting people (and animals) out of pain and living their lives to the fullest.

Emma Piachaud
Senior Physiotherapist

Emma returned ‘home’ to Hong Kong in 2011 after having spent her childhood here. She completed her Bachelor’s Degree (Hons) in Physiotherapy in the UK and has subsequently worked in the UK, France, and Hong Kong in a variety of settings, including the National Health Service, private hospitals and clinics, and a ski resort.

Emma is a keen sportswoman, which has led to a natural interest in sports injury rehabilitation and exercise-based therapy where she has completed many postgraduate courses specialising in manual therapy and core stability retraining. These have been in areas such as the lumbopelvic complex and thoracic rib cage and their combined effects on the musculoskeletal system. She has used this knowledge when treating clients, from elite athletes with chronic overuse injuries to postnatal women returning to sport.

Emma is available to assess and manage all musculoskeletal conditions including neck and back pain, sports injuries, thoracic and ribcage issues, and post-surgical rehabilitation. In addition, Emma has a specialist interest in treating specific problems related to ante and post-natal women, including pelvic girdle pain, rectus diastasis, mastitis, and assisting in return to sport and fitness.

Katia Kucher
Principle Nutritionist

Katia is a nutritionist with a Precision Nutrition certification and NASM Sports nutrition certification. Katia has also been a fitness, road, and trail running coach for many years. Her focus is on finding the ideal personalized diet plan to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Her other certifications include NASM Personal Trainer, PTA Global Personal Trainer. She also does corporate talks and presentations about nutrition and fitness.

As a nutritionist, her goal is to create a personalized nutrition plan and diet to help clients reach their health and fitness goals, or resolve any health issues. The key is to find a healthy, balanced, life sustainable diet that is adaptable to the client’s body type, metabolism, and lifestyle. For athletes, she creates nutrition programs to improve their performance, strength and endurance levels, and promote faster recovery.

Her background also includes helping clients dealing with injuries, by recommending a diet and specific foods that follow the healing phases to help with the healing quality and speed.

If you find it challenging to find a proper diet that will help you reach any of your goals, Katia can help you achieve your goals or help with any health issues, by recommending a diet you will enjoy and be able to maintain.

Taras Makarenko
Principle Osteopath

Taras is the Principal Osteopath with the Hong Kong Sports Clinic, where he specialises in mechanical pain associated with sports injuries, “desk-bound” related back pain, and nerve entrapment syndromes, like sciatica pain.

He has post-graduate training in both pre and postnatal as well as infant and newborn treatments. His experience includes over 6 years as an independent osteopath, working with multi-disciplinary fields alongside general practitioners, sports doctors, and physiotherapists to provide a higher level of effective recovery for his patients. He has engaged with high-level athletes in the field of tennis, soccer, rugby, field hockey, basketball, dance, ballet, trail-running, and triathletes.

To achieve long-lasting results, Taras strongly believes that structure and function have to be considered equally. His methodology includes an emphasis on educating patients about their pain, and to consider that effective recovery and treatment extends beyond the therapy room. Education is a key component to treatments when walking with patients for their road to recovery, with a mixture of in-clinic and home exercises (stretches and strength focused) as keys factors to improve symptoms.

A French national, he enjoys the fast-paced environment of Hong Kong, with his two kids and wife his loves alongside a keen interest in tennis and running.

Hamish Dickie
Senior Physiotherapist

Hamish originally undertook a Sports Science degree at Otago University and followed this up completing a physiotherapy degree at the Auckland University of Technology. A proud Kiwi, Hamish has worked with a number of high-performance teams and individuals and was part of the New Zealand Olympic team in 2018 where the team won 2 medals.

The first NZ Winter Olympics medals in 26 years. Hamish is still involved with the New Zealand Olympic program and physiotherapist for the Hong Kong Rugby men’s team. In 2018, Hamish’s wife Alex gave birth to the couple’s first child Charlie who has quickly become the apple of his father’s eye.

Prior to Hong Kong, Hamish and Alex spent a number of years in beautiful Queenstown, New Zealand where he developed the regions first high-performance youth sports academy to progress talented athletes. Hamish has worked in other high-performance programs including the New Zealand Baseball team and has worked at major tournaments such as the New Zealand Golf Open.

He has also worked in house at CrossFit boxes and is enjoying working with the CrossFit and weightlifting community in Hong Kong. Hamish was the physiotherapist for the Hong Kong Cricket Club rugby section in 2016/17 and is an active member of the cricket section where he captains the Optimists Sunday premier league team. An avid fitness enthusiast, Hamish loves all the running options that Hong Kong offers and is an avid runner on the wonderful trails.

Needless to say, Hamish understands sports and has a special interest in biomechanics and strength and conditioning components of rehabilitation. Hamish is also a qualified dry needling technician and uses a number of mobilizations, soft tissue and active release techniques to enhance the recovery process. Whether you’re a weekend warrior, youth athlete trying to reach the pinnacle of your sport or an international athlete Hamish is the right physio for you.

Charles Wang
Senior Physiotherapist

Charles completed his Physiotherapy degree at the University of Sydney, Australia. Charles has a particular interest in the link between biomechanics and injury, especially in the lumbopelvic area and lower limb. As such his treatment approach incorporates manual therapies and exercises prescription to optimise movement patterns and to recover from and prevent recurring injuries.

Joe Zhang
Physiotherapist

Joe graduated from the University of Sydney and has worked with a variety of athletes and programs, particularly at the Olympic and Professional level. He was a physiotherapist at the NSW Institute of Sport, working across all the programs in particular the Cycling, Hockey and Wheelchair Basketball programs.

Joe was also a team physiotherapist at the NSW Waratahs Super Rugby team and Sydney FC’s W-League team. He worked also as a state program physiotherapist in gymnastics and netball.

Joe’s treatment approach incorporates soft tissue release, dry needling, mobilisations and exercise prescription to speed up recovery, optimise movement patterns, and prevent injuries from recurring.

Joe has played representative basketball, and was also involved in weightlifting.

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