In this interview, we talked to Francesca Wiggins, Head of Clinical Practice at the UCO, about leg pain and osteopathy.
Can osteopathy help with my leg pain?
Well it depends what the reasons might be for your leg pain, but the good news is that working this out, is certainly something that osteopaths can help with. There are many reasons why patients may have leg pain and a number of these relate to the musculoskeletal system, which osteopaths commonly work with. The musculoskeletal system relates to the joints, bones and muscles of the body and musculoskeletal conditions account for 30% of GP consultation (NHS England).
Do patients come in with leg pain often at the UCO Clinic?
Yes! At the UCO Clinic, this is something that we do see lots of, although every patient has their own unique situation which is important for us to understand. Common musculoskeletal causes of leg pain may be a local problem with a part of the leg, a knee injury for example, or it may be referred pain from the lower back or hip area, such as sciatica. In 2018 alone, over 1000 consultations were related to an ankle or foot problem, just over 1500 consultations were related to a hip problem and a little over 1400 were related to a knee problem!
What happens with patients who present with leg pain at the UCO Clinic?
It is really important that we work with you to establish the likely cause of your symptoms, and your history of the problem is likely to be an important part of this. This is essential so that effective treatment options can be explored with you. At the UCO Clinic, we take a full case history from patients so that we can fully understand the background to your pain and/or symptoms and so start to work out “Sherlock Holmes-style”, what may be causing your leg pain. The information from the case history will determine the examinations we perform which are again so that we can work out what is likely to be going on and how this can best be resolved. After your examination, your supervised student osteopath and/or a qualified osteopath will speak with you about your situation and what they think is going on. This will include your treatment options of how an osteopath might be able to help you and other treatment options as appropriate.
Will I need to be referred on for other tests or imaging?
Most patients don’t require this but if we think this is the best course of action, then we will discuss this with you, and with your consent, we can write a referral letter.
My leg pain is really getting me down, what should I do?
The best thing for you to do is to be properly assessed so that we can work with you to develop an effective treatment plan; this is something we routinely do at the UCO Clinic with all of our patients.
What might treatment involve if I come to the UCO Clinic?
We use a mixture of hands-on treatment that might involve soft tissue/massage techniques and mobilising or moving the joints to improve function. We also commonly use exercises and advice, including education so that you understand what is happening and how you can help yourself at home with simple exercises and techniques.
I have a sports related injury that is affecting my leg – is there anyone at the UCO that I can see about this?