CLIMBING PHYSIO INTRODUCTION: LEWIE

I started climbing when I was around 5 years old. It was a Saturday morning thing, lads time with my dad and a chance to do a sport that none of my school friends did. It was also a chance to escape the house and the female energy that came with having 3 sisters. I started belaying my dad when I was around 8, with weights clipped to my small kids harness. It was an addiction, a sport that suited my laid back personality. I loved the places that it took me and the people that it introduced me to. No expectations or pressure to win, only to compete against yourself and gravity! The addiction to climbing came from not beating others but from the legal high that came with finally topping out a project!

My pathway to physiotherapy stemmed from having a younger sister with cerebral palsy and always admiring the work her physio did. I was accepted onto the undergraduate BSc Physiotherapy programme at the UEA, Norwich and just months before starting, I found out a brand new climbing centre was opening up in Norwich. Before vacancies had even been advertised, I dropped an email to the two names behind Highball Climbing Centre, Mike and Phil, telling them how much I would love to be a part of the team. So September 2012 was a big month the for me, starting work in an exciting new climbing centre in my home city and also the start of my 3 year degree in physiotherapy.

These 3 years were a juggling act to say the least. My iPhone calendar, reminders and to do lists were invaluable. I was promoted to duty manager at Highball, completed my thousand hours of clinical placement and kept on top of my assignments (although often submitting them with just minutes to spare). I linked the two where I could, providing injury prevention workshops at the big Highball competitions and included injury prevention techniques in the coaching I did for the Highball Blocademy team. I also attended the BMC’s 3rd Climbing Injury Symposium in Manchester and continue to keep myself up to date with the latest evidence to support climbing injuries and sports medicine/ rehabilitation.

I climb now and then too although only really indoors since finding the time and the money was a limiting factor to venturing outside of Norfolk! Saturday mornings with Dad became less regular with my work patterns but I was lucky to study with some great people who would become my climbing buddies (The Highball Honeys as our Whatsapp group was named!). Our sessions reflected my belief that climbing is one of the most fun and sociable sports. I found bouldering in particular involved a surprising amount of teamwork for what most people would consider an individual sport. The Highball honeys later went on to become my housemate, Jonny; my girlfriend, Hannah; and now, my partner in crime and other half of Climbing Physio, Scott.

After graduating this year, I was lucky to squeeze in a few trips away before starting work as a rotational physiotherapist in Norwich this August. I also became an accredited sports massage practitioner and completed my training in sports taping and strapping. It was at our graduation ball, over a drink that Scott and I started the ball rolling with the idea of a private physiotherapy service for climbers; and Climbing Physio was born. I’m excited to be working with Scott to bring you climbing injury and training blogs, rehabilitation advice and physiotherapy consultations and treatments to help you get back to full strength for that next project!