Comprehensive and specialised physiotherapy services


Recent running reflections with Matt.  Physio West | Physiotherapy, exercise therapy and massage services in Adelaide, South Australia.


The whirlwind of 2020 has been an opportunity for me to reflect on exercise and why we do it. Through distancing and isolation to keep the community safe, gyms, pools and team sports were all put on hold for the greater good. This was difficult for many of us, me included, who love to exercise with friends and enjoy the competitive team sport environment.


Surprisingly, it also gave me a new outlook on exercise from an angle I hadn’t thought of much before. With soccer off the cards for a while, I decided to increase my running load to stay fit for when the season would take off again.


At first it was “run this distance”, or “beat this time”, which inevitably pushed the bar higher and higher and left the outcome always just short of satisfying.


Thankfully, my watch and phone went flat one morning on a run (should’ve flicked the power-point to ON). I ran without a goal in mind, enjoying the breeze, sunshine and focusing on my breathing. It was a real wake up call for me. I realised that I exercise to feel good, to be healthy, to look after my body, and to enjoy movement.


The health benefits of running are well documented in terms of reducing mortality risks, as well as improving mental health. There doesn’t have to be a gold, silver or bronze, just the feeling that you’ve looked after yourself well.


So, coming full circle – if you’re keen to run but don’t know where to start, take the pressure off yourself and focus on enjoyment. Pick your favourite song on your playlist, head down the beach with a friend, or treat yourself to a run up to the local coffee shop. The main thing is to have a go.


If you would like some more guidance on how to make this happen, our running assessments at the clinic will take a big picture look at the way you move, and set you up on the road to success so you can enjoy running in an ongoing way.


Having trouble holding yourself accountable to regular exercise?


You are not alone and I’ve definitely been a culprit of this myself! Sometimes finding the motivation to drag yourself to the gym or go for a run over watching another Netflix episode can be challenging.

You’ve probably heard the adage that ‘exercise is 90% mental and 10% physical’. Overcoming these mental barriers can be extremely testing and it’s easy to find an excuse; “I’m too tired”, “it’s too cold”, “I’ll go tomorrow instead”. You’re in a constant battle with yourself!

It’s well known that exercise has multiple benefits for both physical and mental health. Whilst it reduces your risk of detrimental health conditions, it is also an extremely effective natural anti-anxiety/stress treatment. The release of endorphins during exercise stimulates a range of beneficial responses within our body. However, that doesn’t make it any easier to find motivation and stick to a regular exercise regime!

BUT, have you tried group exercise or working out with a buddy?

Exercising with others is a powerful motivator and helps keep you accountable to regular exercise, as you’re less likely to excuse yourself from these scheduled encounters.

Research has shown that working out in a group can actually lower stress by 26% and improve quality of life (Yorks, Frothingham & Schuenke 2017).

The study investigated the effects of group exercise compared with individual exercise. Those who exercised in a group setting showed:

  • 6% improvement in mental health
  • 8% improvement in physical health
  • 26% improvement in emotional health
  • 2% reduction in stress levels

And, those who exercised individually worked out for twice as long than those in a group but reported no significant changes in anything except mental health – with an 11% increase.

Not only do you reap the benefits listed above, but peer exercise has also been shown to improve performance! With another study finding that those who exercised with a more-capable partner increased their plank time by 24% (Feltz, Kerr & Irwin 2011).

There you have it… results are in and if you ask me, it seems like group exercise is the way to go!

Eager to give group exercise a go? COME JOIN OUR GROUP EXERCISE CLASSES! We love new members!

We have a variety of different classes available to cater for all ages and skill levels, so rest assured there’s something for everyone whether your goal is to build strength, control or to de-stress after a long days work.

The ‘WHAT, WHY and HOW?’

What are all the different classes on offer?

  • Balance: With a focus on increasing strength and balance to maintain independence.
  • Body Flow: Stretching and yoga-based class, ideal for relieving muscle tension and stress.
  • Body Reform: Equipment based exercises using pilates reformers and trapeze tables to build strength and improve control.
  • Body Strong: Gym based class using weights and machines with a focus on building strength.
  • Core: Mat based exercises to challenge and build core strength/control.
  • Hydrotherapy: Water based exercises to help improve movement and build strength.
  • Mums and Bubs: Light strengthening and stability exercises for new mums and bubs.


Why join a group exercise class?

  • Improved strength and flexibility
  • Injury prevention and/or management
  • Improve posture
  • Improve control, stability and quality of movement
  • Weight management for overall health and well-being
  • Improved mental well-being and social interaction


But, why PhysioWest group classes?

  • 45-minute classes
  • Small class numbers 4-5 ppl max
  • Physiotherapist supervision to optimise technique and movement
  • Personalised Programs – work towards your specific goals at your own pace
  • Progress and be challenged as you improve
  • Fun and upbeat classes in a social group setting
  • $25 classes, claimable on private health
  • Every 5th class is free
  • Pay for 10 classes upfront (incl. x2 free classes) and receive 50% off a remedial massage in-clinic at the end of each 10-week block



Think you might be interested, but not sure what class would suit you?

Book in with one of our physiotherapists for a Pre-class Assessment where they will identify your goals, create a personalised exercise program and suggest a suitable class to help you meet these goals! You can even trial a few different classes and see what one tickles your fancy!


We can’t wait to see you in class soon!


Sophie Alderslade, Physiotherapist, PhysioWest




Feltz, D, Kerr, N & Irwin, B 2011, ‘Buddy Up: The Kohler Effect Applied to Health Games’, Journal of sport & exercise psychology, vol. 33, no. 4, pp. 506-26, DOI: 10.1123/jsep.33.4.506.

Yorks, D.M, Frothingham, C.A & Schuenke, M.D 2017, ‘Effects of Group Fitness Classes on Stress and Quality of Life of Medical Students’, The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, vol. 117, no. 11, pp. e17-e25, DOI:


Elective Surgery Delayed?

Did you know Pre-hab is as important as Rehab?

Physio West | Workplace Injuries & Motor Vehicle Accidents | Physiotherapy, exercise therapy and massage services in Adelaide, South Australia.


With elective surgery back on the cards, we are grateful that those in need now have a light at the end of the tunnel. For those still in limbo, we know that Prehab is a worthwhile pursuit in the interim.


As much as movement can at times be uncomfortable, its importance before surgery is key to setting up for a great outcome after surgery.


Patients who undertake exercise based rehab before total knee replacement surgery have an increase in pre-operative function and show less functional decline in the early stages of post-operative management. (Topp 2009).


Exercise based prehab appears to improve ambulatory function in both the short and long term for total hip replacement patients. (Wang, Gilbey & Ackland 2002).


These principles can also be extended to the sporting context in the younger population, where more conservative strengthening approaches are increasingly recommended for the knee, shoulder and ankle where appropriate.


Tailoring this exercise intensity and frequency to your level is key to gaining the positive outcome you are looking for. With your physiotherapist keeping a watchful eye, a specific and personalised program can be developed to meet your needs, be it at the clinic, in the pool or in the gym.


Sticking to the plan is key, knowing that routine exercise over a number of weeks will prepare you for years of great movement and enjoyment in returning to the activities you love.


If you have surgery planned for later this year, get in touch for an assessment and personalised prehab program to prepare well!


‘Getting off on the right foot’

How ankle mobility may be setting you back.


The time has come! The peak of the pandemic is over and the gyms are re-opening their doors. Eager as a beaver, people are lining up for the squat rack to build up those chicken legs. Unfortunately, the binge watching of ‘Tiger King’ and the, ‘walking to the fridge counts as cardio’ mindset has left many in a vulnerable position for injury. In this blog, we’re gonna talk about ankle mobility and why it is important for functional exercises, such as your beloved squats.


Ankle mobility is an essential part of everyday functional activities, including squatting, running, stair climbing and lunging. When you lack ankle mobility, the body figures out other ways to compensate inorder to get the job done, often leading to dynamic alignment issues in the lower body. You may develop pain in your hips and knees, glutes become disengaged and your torso will tend to lean forwards, putting additional pressure on your lower back.


A study by Lima et al. 2018, found an association between ankle mobility and knee position, concluding that reduced ankle dorsiflexion was correlated to dynamic knee valgus, which is when the knees tend to collapse inwards. This valgus movement pattern of the knee can increase the risk of developing overuse injuries and/or sustaining a traumatic injury.


Let’s think about weightlifters wearing fancy looking lifting shoes, it’s not to look serious, it’s to help them keep their heels on the ground and align their body upright. Studies have shown that when participants with restricted ankle mobility are given heel lifts, their lower limb mechanics improve along with an increase in force production (Crowe et al. 2020). Not saying you should race out to buy lifting shoes, but instead to work on your ankle mobility and progress yourself slowly.



So, how do I know if my ankle mobility is restricting my squat? I’m glad you asked! A simple test is to perform a traditional squat with your feet shoulder width apart, ensuring your knees track over your toes. You may feel your heels lift off the ground before you reach full depth. If this is you, perhaps ankle mobility is something to work on. 


Another way to test is to perform a ‘knee to wall test’. Start by setting yourself up in a lunge position against a wall. In this position, find a happy medium where your knee can just touch the wall without your heel raising off the ground and measure the distance between the wall and your toe.


A quick guide to see where you fall;

< 5 cm – poor ankle mobility

5-10 cm – moderate ankle mobility

10 cm – great ankle mobility



With ankle dorsiflexion, it is important to know whether the primary cause of restriction is at the joint, or in the calf muscle itself. Knowing this will determine the type of mobility work needed, hence why your traditional calf stretches may not be working. Along with ankle mobility, relatively strong glutes, good thoracic spine and hip mobility are also essential in performing a deep squat.


If squatting is one of your post-pandemic goals, then book in to see our team of physios at PhysioWest below or by calling 8352 3582



Crowe M, Bampouras T, Walker-Small K & Howe L 2020, ‘Restricted Unilateral Ankle Dorsiflexion Movement Increases Interlimb Vertical Force Asymmetries in Bilateral Bodyweight Squatting’, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, vol. 34, no. 2, pp. 332-336.


Lima Y, Ferreira V, de Paula Lima P, Bezerra M, de Oliveira R & Almeida G 2018, ‘The Association of Ankle Dorsiflexion and Dynamic Knee Valgus: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis’, vol. 29, pp. 61-69.