Founder Theresa McGinn (centre) with some of her team. From left: Maire McCarthy, receptionist; Ian Stanley, physio; Allison Caldbeck, physio; Laura Dunne, physio and Emma Conway, administrator
Kilkenny’s longest established independent physiotherapy clinic is celebrating a quarter of a century since it opened its doors to provide services to the region.
Kilkenny Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Clinic marks 25 years in business this month. And 'the future is bright', says founder Theresa McGinn, who has recently overseen the clinic’s move to new larger premises at Enterprise House on the Dublin Road, Kilkenny to accommodate the growth in business.
Since establishing in 1994, Kilkenny Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Clinic has successfully treated thousands of clients, including children, teenagers, county GAA teams, soccer and rugby squads, elite athletes, people with chronic and long-term illness, the elderly, people with neurological conditions and arthritis. For 20 years, the clinic was the official physio provider to the Defence Forces, while their involvement with the county GAA, hurling and football also extends over two decades.
The business has grown from one room to a thriving practice of ten staff, including seven physios, working out of three premises – with one in Freshford - two Pilates studios and a gym.
It is gratifying for owner Theresa McGinn who started her career as a hospital-based physiotherapist and worked as a senior in neurology and neurosurgery in Cork, with Enable Ireland in Kilkenny, and in hospitals and private clinics in Galway and Tyrone. She has seen many changes in 25 years.
“Fads come and go in the world of physio and medicine so experience is imperative. A physiotherapist must be able to determine what works and what doesn’t”, said Ms McGinn, who says patients can sometimes be disillusioned and unsure where they should go to seek help.
“While research is the way forward for us all it is essential that we don’t overlook the value of practice based evidence in our strive to provide evidence based practice."
Theresa explains that many useful physiotherapy techniques were developed without research, and have yet to be researched, and it is experience that guides a good physiotherapist to make the right treatment choices for each individual client.
“My favourite client is the person who comes to us and says ‘I’ve been everywhere’ and then gives a rundown of all the people they’ve been to see, all the interventions they’ve had and everything they have tried," she says.
“We only employ physiotherapists who have done Degrees or Masters in Physiotherapy and so are eligible to be called chartered physiotherapists, and eligible for CORU registration and this is important to protect the patient. I spend many hours in the clinic teaching my staff, getting them to see what I see, feel what I feel and know what is the best way to treat the patient”, she said.
During the lockdown, Kilkenny Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Clinic made the difficult decision to stay open in order to reduce the load on GP surgeries and to offer an alternative to presenting at A&E.
“Our clients were very happy that our service continued using all the required safety measures”, said Theresa. “We have a lot of knowledge to share in areas such as sports injuries, respiratory conditions, women’s health, neurological conditions, osteoporosis and osteopenia, chronic pain and children’s health. For instance, there are currently very few chartered physiotherapists working with children in private practice so we find ourselves providing children’s physiotherapy to children with delayed development and neurological conditions in the wider south eastern region. It was gratifying that these people could continue their treatments during lockdown”.
“We do a lot of work with children with heel, knee and hip pain – often described incorrectly as growing pains” she explains. “But I especially love the uncoordinated child, those who may seem to have a ‘funny run’, or those who don’t get picked first for the team. For me, that work is particularly gratifying”, she said. “Especially when you see a child improve, be nominated the best improved player or win a race they never won before. To me, that’s just a wow moment”.
For information www.kilkennyphysioclinic.com.