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Mr Nick Gallogly

Consultant Orthotist

Practices at: Circle Reading Hospital

A photo of Mr Nick Gallogly

Nick qualified as a medical mechanical engineer from Dublin in 2004, which focused on the medical application of biomechanics. He then qualified from the University of Salford with honours in Prosthetics and Orthotics, which involved rotations at Nottingham City Hospital and the Robert Jones and Angus Hunt Hospital. In 2014 attained a Master’s Degree in Clinical Biomechanics from Staffordshire University.

Nick works as the Orthotic Clinical Lead for the Royal Berkshire Hospital. He has built up close ties with the orthopaedic consultants, local GP`s and physiotherapists.

Nick is part of the medical team for the GB rowing and para-rowing teams and is also a qualified medical classifier for Paralympic rowing.

He has been a part of the medical team for London Irish Rugby for the past four years and was the on-call Orthotist for the 2015 Rugby world cup. He provides clinical support to the Reading FC academy, Bath Rugby, Bristol Bears Rugby, Gloucester Rugby and Connacht Rugby in Ireland as-well as many other professional and semi-professional athletes.

Nick has a keen interest in lower limb biomechanics both in the treatment of musculoskeletal and neuromuscular conditions in adults and children. He has a research interest in the identification and conservative management of tibialis posterior tendon dysfunction in primary care. He is a guest lecturer at the University of Salford and is a clinical educator.

Treatments Nick provides include

  • Gait Analysis
  • Biomechanical assessments
  • Conservative management of foot and ankle pathologies
  • Orthotic management of stroke and neurologically based conditions
  • Orthotic management of polio
  • Pediatric orthotics

You can visit Nick's website here.

Nick is originally from the west of Ireland and is married with a young family in Reading. He has a keen interest in sports, including rugby, athletics and gaelic football.

  • Royal Berkshire Hospital

  • Gait analysis and Biomechanics, Sports injury prevention, orthotic management of stroke, Foot and ankle.

Research interests

  • Identification and conservative management of tibialis posterior tendon dysfunction.

  • British Association of Prosthetists and Orthotists
  • Health Professionals Council

When someone has a stroke, there is a varying degree of how that will affect them. It can affect their speech; it can affect their motor function, and some people will have a full recovery.

Some people will, unfortunately, end up with a level of motor function impairment and spasticity, which is increased muscle tone, and this usually occurs across the leg and the hand on the same side.

What can happen after a stroke is weakness across one side of the body; this means that the patient’s ability to function and to walk properly and easily is impaired. The level of impairment can be varied, but at a minimum, they may end up with a development of what’s called a drop foot.

Drop foot is where the muscles that are designed to lift your foot are weak. You will therefore drag your foot, which means you have a greater risk of tripping. You may also have weakness generally across your hip and kee, which makes your walking laboured and means you’re at greater risk of falling.

Stroke: what treatment modalities can you expect?

As an orthotist, my job is to assess someone’s walking pattern to try to understand the mechanical deficit that has occurred following the stroke. From both a clinical and an engineering point of view, I will try to prescribe devices that will improve the walking pattern.

The aim is to make the walking as efficient as possible and to improve the energy efficiency in how someone walks, so that they’re not having to exert extra muscles from different areas to try and cope with the fact that the leg is weak. I will also try to prevent muscles from tightening up in the wrong way, which can lead to further deformity.

These kinds of patients are sometimes given very simple devices when they are discharged from hospital; while these are, at the time, the most appropriate method to facilitate discharge, it doesn’t always mean it’s the most appropriate device to be used for walking long-term.

It is important that a patient that experiences a neurological condition affecting weakness on both sides is assessed by an orthotist.

I would first need to assess and understand where the muscles are weak; where the patient has muscle tone; understand the range of movement in the ankles, knee and hip, and liaise with the neuro-physiotherapist that may be working with them.

I then need to understand the patient and their family and understand my patient’s expectations: i.e. walking on uneven ground, walking on sand etc. With that information and the clinical assessment, I can then formulate the right prescription of an ankle/foot orthosis. There is no one device that is appropriate over the other, and it is incredibly important that the patient understands that an ankle/foot orthosis is only correctly prescribed by an orthotist.

In an ideal scenario, the orthotist will communicate with the neuro-physiotherapist before prescribing an orthosis, too.

It is often feared that these kinds of things are very expensive, but I would always encourage the patient or a family member of the patient to connect to understand what the likely costs are. Patients are often surprised that things are not as expensive as they once feared.

Stroke: what happens after your appointment?

Once the correct splint has been fitted, the patient will need time to get used to wearing it and will often work with their physio to get the best possible walking pattern with it.

It is usually a good idea to have a review once the patient has had time to wear it so that a discussion can be had regarding the pros and any cons relating to its use. It is also an opportunity to have further review discussions with the physio, as to the walking pattern and any areas where there might be an opportunity to improve things further.

Most patients are advised to have a review appointment every 12 to 18 months to review their walking pattern and if their goals or presentation has changed. This is especially important over the first five years after a stroke.

About Tibialis Posterior Tendon Dysfunction

Tibialis Posterior Tendon Dysfunction is a condition that affects the tibial posterior muscle and tendon – the muscle that starts in the top third of the inside of the calf; it comes down and around the back of the inside of the ankle and attaches onto different parts of the arch.

The condition can affect a lot of adults, but some people are more susceptible to experiencing it.

Women over 40 are the most vulnerable to experience an issue with this tendon; the tendon is responsible for giving dynamic stability to the foot and controlling how flat the foot can be. It also controls the ability for the foot to be stable for propulsion: for when you’re pushing off on your foot.

People don’t always present with pain on the inside of the ankle, however, which is one of the main problems of this condition, because in general, the injury to the tendon is what we will call ‘a low mechanism of injury’ – which is when the tendon is under stress or strain, in minute form, for a long period of time.

For example, people will often say that they were doing the same thing – gardening or going for a walk – and suddenly, they had a painful foot. Sometimes they are also aware that the foot has changed shape.

People will accept an injury more if they’ve fallen or had an accident; it’s harder for them be acceptant of the foot problem if this is something that has occurred over time.

Sometimes patients can present with pain on the outside of the ankle, and this is because the foot has collapsed so much that they’re getting impingement on the other side of the foot and ankle. What they’ll find is that they don’t feel very balanced on the foot; they may get pain down the inside of their ankle and onto the arch, and they will find they’re limping in an almost asymmetrical way. They won’t feel like they can walk on their foot comfortably.

Tibialis Posterior Tendon Dysfunction: what treatment modalities can you expect?

Before they see me, the first thing a patient can do is give their foot greater support. There is often a view – in this country and elsewhere – that as soon as you’re indoors you should take your shoes off and get into some slippers. For this patient group, it’s the wrong thing to do.

Many people would be surprised by how many steps they’re doing at home and how much weight they’re putting through their feet. I would recommend people wear strong, supportive footwear indoors as well as outdoors who suffer with foot pain.

The management of this condition, when you start to see a health professional, can vary, dependant on how progressed it is, and the level of pain experienced. If the foot has changed shape, the patient will normally need to be seen by an orthopaedic consultant. If their foot has changed shape and it’s painful, at the very least they’ll need to see someone like me – an orthotist, to assess the structures at fault and arrange a scan. Once he/she has this information, they can decide the best course of action. For those who will not need surgery, they will need to be seen by a physiotherapist and someone like me – an orthotist. My job is to functionally influence the load and the stress, and the stress and strain being exerted on the painful tendon.

There are people who will think the aim of a functional device that goes inside the shoes is to ‘correct’ – and that when the pain goes away that the device is no longer needed. This is not the case.

The aim of the device is to influence, to offload a structure that is over-exerted and is causing pain.

Therefore, once the device is not being worn, the foot is back to where it originally was. The patient may have less pain, but it is very likely that the symptoms will come back if the orthoses are no longer being used or the exercises are no longer being done.

Therefore, it’s not advisable to stop wearing them; orthosis do not correct deformities or correct alignment; they influence alignment and they influence deformities. As a clinician, we don’t sell anything; we prescribe devices and we prescribe treatments to reduce pain and improve quality of life.

There are patients who have this condition that will always benefit from seeing a physiotherapist. Physiotherapy colleagues are incredibly important in offloading and improving the strength, not just around the foot and ankle, but right the way through the lower limb and up into the core – that’s an important component of this.

If someone has used strengthening measures – i.e. the appropriate orthotic device prescribed by an appropriate physician – and they’re still in pain, they may need to be escalated to an orthopaedic surgeon.

The aim of surgery is to reduce pain and try to improve quality of life for the patient; it is not, unfortunately, to bring the foot back to where it once was before the foot became injured.

The level of return that people get when they’ve had intervention is varied and it’s not fair to say that everybody will achieve a certain outcome; everyone’s outcome is different, based on the deformity and whether there are any underlying foot problems prior to the injury of the tendon.

At that stage, the intervention is at the discretion and expertise of the foot and ankle surgeon.

Tibialis Posterior Tendon Dysfunction: what happens after your appointment?

Orthotic devices are designed to last for many years. With a condition like this, it’s reasonable and sensible that the foot and ankle should be reviewed every couple of years or so. There’s an awful lot to be said for common sense – and I’m a firm believer in educating the patient to empower them to know when they need to come in and see me.

Education is the most powerful treatment you can offer anybody; once the patient understands what to look for, they’ll know when to pick up the phone to query when and whether they need to come in.

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