‘Move Often and Move Well’ – Advice From PhysioDirect’s Own: Tony Denton

Tony Dent has been with PhysioDirect for just over 6 months, and offers ultrasound scans to assess musculoskeletal condition and shock wave therapy for sports injuries.

Now, over to Tony to learn more about his life and career at PhysioDirect!

Please tell us a bit about your career and life.

I started out working in professional football at Sheffield United in the late 1980’s, initially as a coach with youth players. In those days before multi-million pound academies, charter for quality or even a requirement for qualified physiotherapists was rare. Few clubs had any medical provision below first team level and even then qualified physiotherapists in professional clubs weren’t to be found. This meant those young players risked longer recovery from injuries, or even getting bad advice that could impact their career.

Why did you want to study to become a physiotherapist?

As I was coach, kit man, and mini-bus driver taking my squad up and down the country, the only advice to my injured players then was to rest and then report to training when they were ‘fit’.

That’s when I started the long journey to being a physio.

Initially I started with the FA Diploma courses in Injury Management and Sports Therapy Diplomas. I then moved onto the part-time Physiotherapy Degree course at Sheffield Hallam University.

I studied full time and worked part time in football, all whilst my long term partner Sue supported me on my journey. She’s put up with a lot and sacrificed all holidays and weekends to allow me to succeed in my quest!

The job in football was often challenging and at times frustrating, but it opened up lots of opportunities – especially when the teams were successful – a Wembley FA Cup semi-final, Youth Cup Final, and also the opportunity to travel.

In recent years I’ve had the privilege to visit China, India, Hungary, Malta, Italy, Spain and just missed out on a long-term deployment to Syria!! Since leaving the world of football I miss the day to day banter with the players and staff, but certainly not the long hours and 7 day week! The players keep you young at heart and head and never fail to surprise!

What area of treatment/body do you specialise in?

I specialise in musculoskeletal condition and shock wave therapy for sports injuries.

What’s the best part about your job?

Working in private practice now offers its own challenges, but the same principles from my football days apply. We all need maintenance – especially in these days of lesser activity, longer hours in front of a PC and mobile phone. I feel we are all living just on the threshold of constant neck and shoulder pain and it takes little to push us over that threshold.

Why is it important someone see a physiotherapist regularly?

A lot of the patients we see have just crossed this pain threshold, but if we could all take time to see a physio on a regular basis we might avoid these painful and disabling episodes. It’s much more rewarding as a physio to be able to help people correct issue.

Can you tell us about a funny story in your career?

A few years ago we went to Scotland for pre-season training and one player was late for the bus- he was always late for everything. We waited, and waited. When he finally arrived, we set off.

At one of the stops onroute he was late back (again!) so the group agreed that we would prank him. We asked him for his passport as all the others had handed theirs in and we were about to enter a foreign country.

Panic set in and as we approached the border the driver pulled over and the boys hid him in the kit skip under the bus as he wouldn’t be allowed into Scotland. As we entered Scotland we pulled over again and one of the boys faked the worst Scottish accent possible and searched the buy – kicking the skip and pulling it around but he wasn’t detected so we went on and did the pre-season. On the way back we didn’t even have to make anything up he just locked himself in the skip with the dirty kit!

If you could give anyone one life changing piece of advice about their body, what would you say?

One piece of advice I regularly give my clients is that movement is EVERYTHING. I’d say my mantra is: ‘Move Often and Move Well!’