Elite Leeds sport medicine centre takes the weight off your feet

19 Jan 2015....Physio Paul Perkins watches as Rob Parsons tries out the new 'AlterG' anti-gravity treadmill at Perform Leeds at the Spire Hospital in Roundhay.Picture Scott Merrylees
19 Jan 2015....Physio Paul Perkins watches as Rob Parsons tries out the new 'AlterG' anti-gravity treadmill at Perform Leeds at the Spire Hospital in Roundhay.Picture Scott Merrylees
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From the all-conquering elites to the enthusiastic novice, one experience that unites all players of sport is the frustration of an injury.

And while there’s no shortage of help and expertise available to crocked sportspeople across Leeds the team behind the new Perform centre in Roundhay say they are offering something different.

19 Jan 2015....Physio Paul Perkins watches as Rob Parsons tries out the new 'AlterG' anti-gravity treadmill at Perform Leeds at the Spire Hospital in Roundhay.Picture Scott Merrylees

19 Jan 2015....Physio Paul Perkins watches as Rob Parsons tries out the new 'AlterG' anti-gravity treadmill at Perform Leeds at the Spire Hospital in Roundhay.Picture Scott Merrylees

Having opened at the private Spire Leeds Hospital before Christmas, it boasts a team of experts in every conceivable discipline, including orthopaedic surgeons, radiologists and physiologists, to help athletes at all levels.

As well as treating injuries the aim of the centre, the 12th of its kind in the country, is to improve the health and performance of ‘weekend warrior’ amateurs as well as elite competitors.

Seven months after getting an agonising twinge in my knee during an attempt to lower my 10k personal best, and having already been to two physiotherapists, I attend the centre in the hope of finally being able to run pain-free.

The first part of my visit is with Dr Jonathan Power. As a sports and exercise medicine (SEM) consultant, a specialty that came into existence in 2003 in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics, he is one of only 60 in the country.

One of two SEM consultants at Perform Leeds, he is also head of medical services at Leeds Rhinos. After a welter of questions he diagnoses my painful runner’s knee as a product of weak ‘glutes’, but says there’s plenty I can do to speed up my existing rehabilitation attempts.

Next stop is a visit to Paul Perkins, a physiotherapist who worked with Leeds United’s first team until late last year.

He gives my knee and the surrounding muscles a comprehensive MOT, before sending me a daily strength-improvement programme that’s much more demanding than those I’ve tried before.

Paul shows off the high-end equipment at Perform’s disposal. The most eye-catching is the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill, a favourite for top football and rugby teams trying to bring their stars back from injury.

It alters the air pressure inside an enclosed space to precisely reduce or increase the weight of each step, giving the athlete a chance to run pain-free and making it possible to monitor their progress to an exact degree.

After placing my legs inside and hearing it whirr into action, the effect is dramatic. My knee, which a few minutes earlier was smarting, now feels like I could run on it all day.

I’m now crossing my fingers that, if I stick to my rehab plan, I’ll be experiencing that lack of pain for real in the not-too-distant future.

A first consultation with sports and exercise medicine physicians costs £120, with treatments available on a pay-per-item basis.

Physio consultation cost an average of £38 per session.

Alter G can be accessed on a supervised basis at £35 for 30 minutes or unsupervised £25 for 30 minutes.

The SEMs and physios are registered with insurance companies so anyone can refer via their GP or with pre-authorisation from insurance.

Visit www.spireperform.com/leeds for information.

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