Belinda presents at the 2017 MONACO IOC Injury Prevention Conference: Screening

In March Belinda went to Monte Carlo to speak at the International Olympic Committee Injury Prevention conference. This is a conference held every 3 years and was attended by 1200 Sports Medicine participants in 2017. The conference attracts the best Sports Medicine researchers in the world to present on current evidence based practice and research. It was a huge honour for Belinda to present amongst leaders in Sports Medicine. Belinda presented on research of the Tennis Specific Screen, a 10 point musculoskeletal screen developed by the Women’s Tennis Association. This was well received and is promising research to identify potential injury risk and improve performance of athletes.


Belinda presenting at the IOC Injury Prevention Conference in Monaco

Why screen?

Prevention of injury is the cornerstone of Sports Medicine. Screening is one way injuries may be prevented by identifying a deficit in muscle strength or mobility and implementing an intervention or exercise program to reduce injury risk.

Screening is beneficial by:

-          Identifying risk

-          Identifying injury trends

-          Identifying musculoskeletal deficits

-          Developing injury prevention programs

-          Improving performance

What is screening?

Screening is a battery of musculoskeletal tests used in an attempt to identify any deficits in muscle length, strength, joint mobility, motor control or flexibility. When you see a physiotherapist they may perform a number of tests to identify these deficits and then implement an exercise program to get stronger, more nimble or active.


If you are an avid footballer, tennis player, netballer, sports man or weekend warrior aiming to improve your running or cycling miles or simply want to be healthy, a musculoskeletal screen may help you reach your goals whilst keeping injury free.

Call us at Grand Slam Physiotherapy for a consultation, 03) 5277 2151

Do you need a knee reconstruction or an arthroscopy? research suggests exercise is the answer instead.

Last week Belinda and I attended a lecture at Latrobe University (Sports Exercise Medicine Research Centre) that discussed the move towards using exercise as a very effective alternative to knee surgery. The two main topics discussed were whether ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) ruptures require surgical repair and if degenerative knees require arthroscopic surgery.

The lecture certainly shifts the traditional paradigm we have held about knee injury. Professor Ewa Roos and Dr Adam Culvernor discussed their research. The take home message was that exercise was the number one thing that changed patient perceived outcomes in knee recovery. Professor Roos has started an unbelievably successful program (GLA:D) in Denmark. We at Grand Slam Physiotherapy are implementing similar exercise prescription programs for our clients who suffer knee pain.

Please feel free to call Ben and Belinda on (03)52772151 for further information on the how a well structured exercise program can help your knee pain

Leg press 2.jpg

East Meets West with Physio at China Open

It is a great privilege to travel to tournaments around the world and work alongside expert clinicians from so may different backgrounds. Dr Lee has 45 years experience in Chinese Medicine. During this year's China Open it was interesting seeing his approach to treating different conditions as well as his enthusiasm to see how things are done with physiotherapy on The ATP World Tour. 

The finals of the China Open wrap up today. For more information please look at the link attached below:

Dr Lee and Ben at China Open 2016

Dr Lee and Ben at China Open 2016



Weight Training - The 'New' Elixir to Healthy Ageing & Bones: Fact or Fiction?

Human Nature makes us curious to explore something new, something niche, something expensive or just plain easy to solve our problems. For this reason, the obvious is often over-looked. So despite the catchy heading, ‘simple’ weight-training or ‘lifting iron’ is an age old remedy that has a new-age list of benefits.

When we think of weight training we typically associate it with muscular athletes in particular body-builders. There is no doubt that lifting does make you stronger, fitter and well toned in the athletic population but the benefits for the broader population are understated.

Some of the many benefits of weight training include:

-       Strength gains throughout life

-       Helps maintain weight loss and increases metabolism

o    Also increases lean muscle mass

-       Helps protect bone and muscle mass

o    Each year after puberty we lose about 1% of bone and muscle mass per year

-        Reducing risk of falls by up to 40%

o     Improves balance & coordination

-       Aids to prevent diseases:

o    Reduces risk of arthritis and improves function/ reduces symptoms 

o    Improves bone density

o    Assists glucose control in type 2 diabetes

-       Boosts energy levels and mood

o    Increases endorphin levels

o    Improves sleep quality

Lifting weights has been shown to help prevent bone conditions such as osteoporosis and osteopenia by reducing fractures and strengthening bone density. In fact, research has shown that strength training for one year can help prevent bone loss and even help build new bone.

So as we are becoming an ageing population we have to shift our paradigm of how we exercise as we age. Exercise that benefits our ageing doesn’t have to be, nor should it be something that is fancy or exclusive such as a magic pill, special exercise device or a gimmicky plan. It does however, require us to continue to train into our maturity like an athlete as the benefits are the same when we age only they might have even more positive consequences.

The only requirement of exercising when we age is that is done under good instruction by a qualified health professional. We understand the processes of aging and can offer feedback specific to you. I have attached a nice video clip of how healthy lifting under instruction has already taken place in Queensland (Channel 7 News, 2016), with excellent outcomes.

We at Grand Slam Physiotherapy want to help you as you age. We are leaders in Sports Physiotherapy, Innovative and There for you. Please call (03) 5277 2151 to book an appointment today.

Let the Games Begin..... Rio 2016

Belinda Smith, Olympic Physiotherapist

I fulfilled a bucket list physiotherapy dream in going to the 2016 Rio Olympics working as a tournament physiotherapist for the female athletes at the Tennis. The event so far has been unbelievable, starting with the opening ceremony with laser lights, Brazilian dance fever and an overwhelming Olympic spirit. Seeing all of the nations, especially Australia and our tennis athletes walk into the stadium was very special. 

Brazilian party fever at the Opening Ceremony

Brazilian party fever at the Opening Ceremony

The Olympic Tennis event is held at the main hub of sporting venues during Rio. We have been lucky enough so far to see swimming, basketball, fencing and handball. The Olympics draws extra motivation and excellence from athletes in representing their countries. This is a great privilege and truly inspirational to be involved in. Our role as physiotherapists at the Games is similar to that on the tennis tour. We prepare athletes for play, treat any injuries and ensure good recovery after matches. We also attend the courts if an athlete is injured or unwell during a match. 

Michael Phelps wins another gold medal, what a champion

Michael Phelps wins another gold medal, what a champion

An athlete receiving some treatment during a medical time-out at The Olympics

An athlete receiving some treatment during a medical time-out at The Olympics

Prior to the event we managed to fit in some sightseeing and went to see Christ the Redeemer and Copacabana/Ipanema beaches. We were also very lucky to visit the Olympic Village, which houses thousands of athletes during the games in a self-contained mini-city. The gym is something to behold, with state of the art equipment and hundreds of machines for athletes to finely tune their performance. The treatment and recovery facilities are fantastic. These include onsite X-Ray, MRI and Ultrasound, optometrists, dentists, physiotherapists and doctors. 

The Olympic Tennis Event Physio team

The Olympic Tennis Event Physio team

My time at the Olympics has been an experience of a lifetime. The Olympics are a special time where nations and individuals from all around the world come together to strive for excellence and show the true human spirit. Just participating is an achievement and will be cherished forever by all involved. Seeing the reaction of Monica Puig the new Olympic Champion in women's singles truly defined what the Olympic games is all about. 

Monica Puig, Olympic Singles Gold medalist, 2016

Monica Puig, Olympic Singles Gold medalist, 2016

Her elation and sheer emotion was a really nice thing to see and in a small way be part of. Experiences like these make the job even more satisfying and are an experience I will always remember.

I hope you too enjoyed seeing all these amazing athletes perform on the world's biggest stage.

Until next time, take care, Belinda.

Olympic Gold Medal

Olympic Gold Medal


Olympic Opening Ceremony - Carnival style!

Struggling to get out of bed on a winter's morning? Fear not: See how the Swedes capitalise on cold water immersion for recovery and vitality

This week Belinda is in the beautiful beach side town of Bastad at the Swedish Open, headlined by Australian Open Champion and Wimbledon finalist Angelique Kerber. This is a reprieve from the heat last week in Romania at the Bucharest Open.  

The North Sea is a beautiful backdrop to Stadium Court in Bastad at the Swedish Open

The North Sea is a beautiful backdrop to Stadium Court in Bastad at the Swedish Open

Despite the cooler weather in Bastad, the “Swedish Summer” sees many locals and athletes plunging into the cool ocean. Whether it is hot or cold weather, athletes use ice baths or cold water immersion to aid recovery. Immersing the body in cool water of approximately 12-15 degrees for 5 to 10 minutes helps sore muscles recover by flushing out toxins and encouraging blood flow to aid faster recovery. For more comfort use contrast with hot for 1-2 minutes followed by cool immersion for 1-2 minutes. Repeat this cycle 4-5 times. 

Cold water immersion or cold showers have also been reported to have other health benefits including:

- Increasing alertness and energy

- Improving immunity and circulation

- Easing stress

To kick start your day or the next time you have an intense work out, to aid those tired and sore muscles have a dip in the ocean, a cold bath or cool shower.  

For more information, follow this link to the Australian Institute of Sport's recovery centre:

Bastad, Sweden 

All Roads Lead to Rome - An insight from ATP Physiotherapist Ben Herde

The ATP Masters 1000 and WTA Premier Event at the Rome Open is a must-stop for the world’s most elite tennis players. Unlike most tourists who visit Rome, it isn’t the food, fashion and historic architecture that bring these guys here.

The Rome tournament is the last major tournament before the second Grand Slam of the year – The French Open. It is pivotal to gain as much match practice as possible prior to an often elusive slam. The clay court slam is often more difficult to win as the speed of the court is slower and bouncier than the other surfaces of grass and hard-court.

I find clay-court tennis some of the most exciting tennis to watch as the rallies are longer and there is often more gut-busting running and heavy ground strokes. Players such as Rafael Nadal have forged tenacious ‘bull-like’ comparisons on this surface as they able to utilize their athletic attributes.

The role of an ATP World Tour Physiotherapist takes us to tennis stadiums all over the world where the athletes play on the different surfaces of clay, grass and hard-court. The job requires preparing the athletes for practice and matches as well as looking after their general maintenance and rehabilitation plans. Additionally there is the role of offering on-court treatment should they need it.

When the athletes play on clay with the longer points there are also different stresses on the body. Typically the players have more lower- limb soft-tissue over-use injuries due to the increase in running in the matches. As an ATP World Tour Physiotherapists we also see an increase in forearm and shoulder overuse injuries due to the higher ball bounce, hitting more shots in a rally and players often having to generate their own pace on the ball. On the contrary, we don’t see the same rate of patella tendinopathy injuries as hard-courts as the courts are more forgiving with shock-absorption and allow the athlete to slide.

Once Roland Garros has ended the tennis athletes need to rapidly prepare their bodies for the short grass-court season, concluding at Wimbledon. Grass courts have a lower skidding ball, requiring more eccentric strength in their lower extremity and quick movement to get to the ball during shorter rallies. The travelling tennis athlete therefore needs to be constantly fine-tuning their fitness training and game to suit the surface and conditions.


Ben treats part-time on the ATP World Tour and is the Owner/Operator of Grand Slam Physiotherapy in North Geelong. His vision is to bring the experience he has gained on tour to his daily practice at Grand Slam Physiotherapy where his clients can also receive world-class treatment.



Court Call for Jack Sock (USA)

Pietrangeli Court

Pietrangeli Court

Why Rehabilitation Matters-From the Accident Site to Full Recovery & Where it Sometimes Goes Wrong

Undergoing injury rehabilitation is a huge ordeal and in many cases can be life-changing. It is amazing to think about how our bodies adapt to recoup to a normal existence. Nonetheless, there are still a large amount of barriers that can curtail a full recovery. Recognising these obstacles and addressing them with quality physiotherapy care can ensure the best outcome occurs.

When trauma occurs, the force of the accident exceeds the resilience of the body’s tissues. Whether it is a graze, bone fracture, ligament sprain or a soft-tissue injury, the body’s alarm system goes into over-drive and begins its repair process. It does this with a message from the brain and a heightened immune response. There is an influx of swelling where our white blood cells tag and take care of the very damaged cells and then begin signaling to regrow the damaged areas. With this, there is constant communication to the brain that in most cases assists but when there is misunderstanding it can actually be a hindrance to recovery.

In the moment of crisis, our brain can control the amount of muscle tone to guard the area, regulation of blood flow and nutrition to injury site, and inhibition with pain just to name a few. Ultimately, its chief aim as the control center is to restore order and calm things back to their original state.

Unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned and return to pre-injury status doesn’t occur. Often the problem isn’t able to repair itself and the body either adapts to find alternative way of functioning or the problem turns itself into a chronic pain state whereby the brain registers the tissues as a supersensitive state beyond the level of their physical level of damage.

As therapists, we can identify the deficits. This is achieved through an accurate diagnosis and then bridging the gaps of the deficits. Sometimes this is obvious, such as bracing an unstable joint until it’s stable and strengthening the muscles around it. Although sometimes it’s less obvious, such as re-training the joint receptors position sense in a recurring ankle sprain, and other times it is a game of Tetris whereby the therapist is placing together the gaps of weakness in the body’s kinetic chain. An example of this is a person who develops back pain after having a knee injury and the problem is then solved by being prescribed with the appropriate strengthening program.

Previously there was a real mystery area of chronic pain where the brain adapts to chronically distressed area of tissue and super sensitizes the injured area. Fortunately, an area of pain science has evolved and we now have a great understanding of managing this problem as well with great outcomes.

So whatever the level of trauma suffered in any form of accident, it is advisable to touch base with your physiotherapist so they can help you identify any obstacles, large or small, that may be preventing you from achieving a full recovery.

Ben Herde is an expert physiotherapist in his field. He consults from Grand Slam Physiotherapy in North Geelong. He is an Australian Physiotherapy Association Sports Physiotherapist who treats all musculoskeletal injuries and he also works part-time on the ATP World Tour with professional tennis players. To make an appointment please call (03) 52772151.

Physiotherapy: Art vs Science?

I can remember back in my early days of physio school one of lecturers (Neil Tuddle) asking at Griffith University, ‘Is physiotherapy an art or science’? I thought at the time what a strange question to ask and what relevance does this have to me learning the skills of being a good physio. Looking back now, I couldn’t have been more wrong and I am glad he did ask that question.

Over the years I have thought about it and even though there was no intended answer, I think I have the answer that our lecturer was looking for us naïve students to think about. For me I now know, physiotherapy is both a science and an art. Whilst physiotherapy is founded on the basis of evidence based practice and supported with thorough scientific method, the execution or the delivery of it is an art.

Prominent researchers in the field of evidence based practice, Sackett et al., liken the above to a three-pronged stool. The stool symbolizing the service you get provided through evidence practice. Each leg is a component of it. The first leg is: What is the science behind what the clinician is doing? The second leg is: What do you as a clinician expect and the final leg is: What skill-set can the clinician offer?

The relevance of this as a client and a consumer is that you deserve to be getting the best quality care on offer and if what you are currently getting doesn’t fit this picture you deserve better.

Ben is an Australian Physiotherapy Association Sports Physiotherapist who works part-time on the ATP World Tour. He treats from 1/3 Hepner Place, North Geelong. For appointments, please call ph. (03)5772151

Welcome to Ben Herde- Sports Physiotherapist, Geelong Blog

Welcome to the very first blog entry on my new website! Being my very first blog I wanted to let you know why I have chosen to blog and how I came to practicing in the beautiful city of Geelong.

I am really excited to broadcast myself through my website. In the digital age we live in it has never been easier to interact with our community. The confines are no longer limited to the people we interact with on a personal one-to-one basis. It’s amazing to consider that with the touch of your smart phone, tablet or PC you can instantly find an abundance of information from trivial facts, critical daily information or even insights of how the world around us is changing. So with this in mind, my aim is to deliver to you an insight into the sensational world of sports physiotherapy from my eyes. My blogs will cover many, many topics that will hopefully inform you, educate you, entertain you and hopefully be a blog that you can’t wait for the next one every time you finish reading it!

Before we go any further, I guess it’s very important to fill you in on a little bit about me, how I decided to make Geelong my home and what makes me passionate about Sports Physiotherapy.  I grew up as a country kid and had the most amazing childhood whereby physical activity was my every existence and I loved every minute of it. Exercise was a huge part of my life whether this was helping my Dad on the farm, building cubby houses with my brother or playing organized sport with my school friends and even gaining some success as a handy middle distance athlete. Little did I know, not only was exercise fun but it was also fast becoming the foundation of a way of life for me.

As I grew older, exercise was a real enigma for me. It made me feel good, helped me make life-long friendships, made me competitive and set goals, made me curious where I wanted to explore everything about it. It also provided me challenges. There were inevitably injuries, disappointments but also ways to overcome this.

So for me it wasn’t really a difficult decision to become a Sports Physiotherapist. It was really a culmination of my interests. I worked hard towards what was required of me and had a lot of fun on the way. Sports Physiotherapy has given me plenty of opportunities in my life. I have worked with some amazing people (both staff and patients), travelled to the ends of the earth and feel like the profession offers me something unique each day where there is always something to learn.

The move to Geelong has enabled me to continue my love for a physical lifestyle. I live a very balanced life whereby there is a sense of community living in Geelong. It is also close to the beach and other fun outdoor activities but the city is also large enough that offers a clientele of a wide variety of patients. The clinic I work in enables me to continue my part-timework with the ATP World Tour treating some of the world’s best tennis players. Whilst I’m away my existing patients are left in the very capable care of some other great therapists.

Today’s post has been a little snap-shot about me. In my future posts I want to offer some great exercise and injury prevention tips, updates of what is happening in the latest research and development in sports physiotherapy and also some fun photos of clinic life and my travel on the tennis tour. Until next time, enjoy!