Musculoskeletal and Orthopaedic Sports Medicine

We believe in translational science, with the aim of optimising injury prevention and treatment, as well as health and well-being for human performance 

The understanding and evaluation of the musculoskeletal, neuromechanical and body composition factors underpinning sports performance and injury are central to this interdisciplinary theme. 

The same extrinsic and intrinsic factors affecting human performance (e.g. bone and muscle architecture) are also contributors to the stress-strain relationship that is fundamental in understanding sports injury. This theme is supported by orthopaedic surgeons and sports scientists, all having a common interest in improving human performance by maintaining a healthy musculoskeletal system. The approach and analysis techniques adopted and applied by the research team vary depending upon the nature of the investigation, with medical imaging and laboratory practices being at the forefront.

our research community

The musculoskeletal and orthopaedic sports medicine research community includes academic colleagues and postgraduate researchers who are involved in a variety of projects with wide-reaching impact.

Postgraduate research students

Commenced October 2019

This is a match funded PhD project between Leeds Beckett University and the Football Association (FA). Women’s soccer is one of the fastest growing sports worldwide with large increases in elite youth girls’ academies. Despite this surge in elite youth female soccer academies, comprehensive injury surveillance and physical profiling studies are relatively sparse within this population which makes it difficult to inform-evidenced based injury reduction and long-term athletic development strategies. This research project aims to address the gap in the literature by conducting a nationwide injury audit and physical profiling project within elite girls’ academies in England. Findings will be used to inform athletic development strategies as part of the Girls England Talent Pathway.

Commenced February 2020

This a match funded PhD project between Leeds Beckett University and Zimmer Biomet. Numerous positive outcomes are associated with school sport participation, although there is also the potential risk of injury. The identification and mitigation of sports injury risk factors is of interest both nationally and globally for educational establishments. However, currently in the UK there is limited data on injury incidence within youth school sports nor feasible strategies to actively reduce injury risk. Therefore, this project aims to 1) identify injury risk factors in female school sport participants between the ages of 12-16 years, 2) identify potential barriers to the implementation of an injury reduction programme, and 3) implement and evaluate an injury reduction programme in school sport participants. Findings will be used to inform injury prevention strategies in youth female athletes.

Commenced February 2018

Muscle-tendon function has been reported to be a key determinant of endurance exercise performance, specifically within the muscle-tendon unit that crosses the ankle joint as it plays such a pivotal role in the transfer of internal work to external power during cycling and running. This research uses ultrasound techniques to assess muscle-tendon function in the triceps surae group during cycling and establishes relationships between neuromuscular parameters of human movement and overall movement economy.  Comparisons are to be made between triathletes and athletes who compete only in cycling or running to understand the potential chronic effects of each mode of exercise on muscle-tendon function and neuromuscular performance. In addition to enhancing the body of understanding in the fields of human locomotion and muscle function, this PhD will also have practical applications leading to the improvement of performance not only in triathlon, but also in cycling and running individually.  


  • Walker J., Cronin N., Jongerius N., Wainwright B., Bissas N. (2019). Effects of fascicle length filtering on muscle-tendon behaviour during cycling. ECSS Conference Presentation. 
  • Walker J., Bissas N., Hanley B., Wainwright B., Cronin N. (2020). Repeatability of muscle-tendon unit passive stiffness measurements: modulation of the contractile and series-elastic element. (In Press). 

Selected outputs

  • Harris, Nicholson, Pountos (2018) Stabilisation of the ankle syndesmosis using the internal brace. British Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (BOFAS), Edinburgh, November 2018
  • Harris, Nicholson, Pountos (2018) Stabilisation of the ankle syndesmosis using the internal brace. British Orthopaedic Sports Trauma and Arthroscopy Society(BOSTAA), London, December 2018 – Best paper award
  • Harris, Nicholson, Pountos (2019) Stabilisation of the ankle syndesmosis using the internal brace. XXVIII Isokinetic Medical Group Conference, London, April 2019  


  • Walker, J., Nicholson, G., Jongerius, N., Parelkar, P., Harris, N. and Bissas, A., (2020) Commonly reported isokinetic parameters do not reveal long-term strength deficits of the triceps surae complex following operative treatment of Achilles tendon rupture. Journal of Biomechanics, p.109630. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2020.109630
  • Nicholson, G., Walker, J., Dawson, Z., Bissas, A., Harris, N. (2019) Morphological and functional outcomes of operatively treated Achilles tendon ruptures. The Physician and Sports Medicine. 
  • London, N., Excellent survival and outcomes with fixed-bearing medial UKA in young patients (≤60yrs) at minimum 10-year follow-up. Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy. DOI: 10.1007/s00167-020-05870-4
  • Halsey, T., Johnson, Mark I. & Jones, G. (2019) Epiphyseal Stress Fractures of the Fingers in an Adolescent Climber A Potential “Maslow’s Hammer” in Terms of Clinical Reasoning. Current Sports Medicine Reports: December 2019 - Volume 18 - Issue 12 - p 431–433
  • Dimitrakopoulou A, Schilders E. Focal osteopenia of pubic parasymphyseal bone as an underlying cause of groin pain in sports: a new perspective. BMJ Case Rep. 2018 May 4;2018. pii: bcr-2017-223698. doi: 10.1136/bcr-2017-223698. PubMed PMID:29728433
  • Sinikumpu JJ, Hetsroni I, Schilders E, Lempainen L, Serlo W, Orava S. Operative treatment of pelvic apophyseal avulsions in adolescent and young adult  athletes: a follow-up study. Eur J Orthop Surg Traumatol. 2018 Apr;28(3):423-429. doi: 10.1007/s00590-017-2074-x. Epub 2017 Nov 20. PubMed PMID: 29159479
  • Schilders E, Bharam S, Golan E, Dimitrakopoulou A, Mitchell A, Spaepen M, Beggs C, Cooke C, Holmich P. The pyramidalis-anterior pubic ligament-adductor longus complex (PLAC) and its role with adductor injuries: a new anatomical concept. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2017 Dec;25(12):3969-3977. doi: 10.1007/s00167-017-4688-2. Epub 2017 Sep 2. PubMed PMID: 28866812; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5698379
  • Schache AG, Woodley SJ, Schilders E, Orchard JW, Crossley KM. Anatomical and morphological characteristics may explain why groin pain is more common in male than female athletes. Br J Sports Med. 2017 Apr;51(7):554-555. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2016-096945. Epub 2016 Dec 1. PubMed PMID: 27935484
  • Parker, P., Manley, A., Shand, R., O'Hara, J. P., & Mellor, A. (2017). Working memory capacity and surgical performance whilst exposed to mild hypoxic hypoxaemia (3000m). Aerospace Medicine and Human Performance. doi:10.3357/AMHP.4761.2017
  • Jones, B., Till, K., Roe, G., O'Hara, J., Lees, M., Barlow, M., & Hind, K. (2017). Six-year body composition change in male elite senior rugby league players. Journal of Sports Sciences. doi:10.1080/02640414.2017.1300313
  • Lees, M. J., Oldroyd, B., Jones, B., Brightmore, A., O'Hara, J., Barlow, M., . . . Hind, K. (2017). Three-compartment body composition changes in professional rugby union players over one competitive season: a team and individualised approach. Journal of Clinical Densitometry, 20(1), 50-57. doi:10.1016/j.jocd.2016.04.01
  • Gledhill A, Forsdyke D. An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure: shouldn't we be doing EVERYTHING to reduce sports injury incidence and burden? Br J Sports Med. 2018 Jun 13. pii: bjsports-2018-099208. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2018-099208. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 29899048
  • Gledhill A, Forsdyke D, Murray E. Psychological interventions used to reduce sports injuries: a systematic review of real-world effectiveness. Br J Sports Med. 2018 Feb 20. pii: bjsports-2017-097694. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2017-097694. [Epub ahead of print] Review. PubMed PMID: 29463497
  • Forsdyke D, Smith A, Jones M, Gledhill A. Infographic: Psychosocial factors associated with outcomes of sports injury rehabilitation in competitive athletes. Br J Sports Med. 2017 Apr;51(7):561. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2016-097467. Epub 2017 Mar 3. PubMed PMID: 28258174
  • Forsdyke D, Gledhill A, Ardern C. Psychological readiness to return to sport:  three key elements to help the practitioner decide whether the athlete is REALLY ready? Br J Sports Med. 2017 Apr;51(7):555-556. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2016-096770. Epub 2016 Dec 1. PubMed PMID: 27935488
  • Forsdyke D, Smith A, Jones M, Gledhill A. Psychosocial factors associated with outcomes of sports injury rehabilitation in competitive athletes: a mixed studies systematic review. Br J Sports Med. 2016 May;50(9):537-44. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2015-094850. Epub 2016 Feb 17. Review. PubMed PMID: 26887414
  • Davidow D, Quarrie K, Viljoen W, Burger N, Readhead C, Lambert M, Jones B, Hendricks S. Tackle technique of rugby union players during head impact tackles compared to injury free tackles. J Sci Med Sport. 2018 Apr 20. pii: S1440-2440(18)30107-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2018.04.003. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 29803736