Research in the Department of Physiotherapy, Podiatry, Prosthetics and Orthotics

The Department of Physiotherapy, Podiatry, Prosthetics and Orthotics undertakes research that promotes health and wellbeing in our communities and across the lifespan.

Our academics are internationally-recognised for research that optimises physical activity, rehabilitation and quality of life for people living with a range of conditions.

Our research benefits a broad range of people including those with neurological conditions, disability, amputation, musculoskeletal or sporting injuries.

Our research supports La Trobe’s research themes: Sustainable food and agriculture; Resilient environments and communities; Healthy people, families and communities; Understanding and preventing disease; and Social change and equity.

Find out more about how our partnerships and facilities enable transformation research.

Research areas

Our researchers design and evaluate the effectiveness of clinical interventions. They also identify innovative ways to improve health outcomes, and engage communities in activities that promote health and wellbeing.

Our research is grouped into our three discipline areas:

Discipline lead: Associate Professor Richard Newsham-West

Our researchers are working to improve the health and wellbeing of people with diverse needs including those with musculoskeletal conditions, sports injuries and neurological conditions. We develop innovative management strategies to deliver better health, and healthcare, to the community.

Many of our academics are members of the La Trobe Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre, where their research seeks to optimise an individual’s chosen level of performance and participation in sport, exercise, physical activity, work, family and social life.

Our staff are also leaders in research that improves physical activity in children with disabilities, older adults and those living with cancer. And, they are recognised for research that enhances movement, and health and wellbeing, for people living with Parkinson’s disease.

Discipline lead: Professor Shannon Munteanu

Our researchers are working to improve the health and wellbeing of people living with conditions of the foot and ankle.

Our staff are supported by fellowships from the National Health and Medical Research Council to conduct clinically-relevant, evidence-based research that improves foot health in the community.

Research includes epidemiology, prevention and management of foot conditions associated with chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis and diabetes, and sports injuries of the lower limb.

Our staff are also actively engaged in mentorship via their postgraduate student program and external collaborations.

Discipline lead: Mr Anthony Francis

Our researchers aid decision-making and improve quality of life for those who use prostheses and orthotics. They have engaged end-users in research design to produce outcomes that are clinically-relevant, evidence-based and translated into practice.

Our academics are committed to improving the quality of training in this discipline and their contributions have helped to inform international standards.

Research centres

Our staff play key roles in the Centre for Research Excellence in Aphasia Recovery and Rehabilitation; the La Trobe Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre; and the Living with Disability Research Centre.

The Centre for Research Excellence in Aphasia Recovery and Rehabilitation is a National Health and Medical Research Council-funded centre that aims to transform the health and wellbeing of people with aphasia and their families. The Centre’s research program champions enhanced, cost-effective and sustainable interdisciplinary aphasia rehabilitation and community service.

Find out more about the Centre.

The La Trobe Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre is a world-leading, collaborative centre for sport and exercise medicine research. The Centre’s research impacts on policy, clinical practice, activity participation, and health and wellbeing, in Australia and internationally. It translates research findings to key stakeholders including the international research community, health practitioners and the general public.

Find out more about the Centre.

The Living with Disability Research Centre conducts research to help improve practices, programs and policies that support the social inclusion of people with cognitive disabilities. The Centre’s research program focuses on building a robust evidence base for the disability sector, and the broader community, to address the complex and multifaceted problems facing people with cognitive disability, their families and carers.

Find out more about the Centre.

Academic and Research Collaborative in Health

Several of our academic staff are also members of La Trobe’s Academic and Research Collaborative in Health, which brings together academics, clinicians, consumers, healthcare professionals, health and social care agencies and policy makers skilled in the translation of interdisciplinary research.

The Academic and Research Collaborative in Health aims to improve the patient experience, patient outcomes, healthcare quality and safety, and to achieve best practice in service provision. Partners include Alfred Health, Austin Health, Eastern Health, Healthscope, Mercy Health, Northern Health, the Royal Melbourne Hospital and the Women’s.

Find out more about the Collaborative.

Photo of Dr Casey Peiris

La Trobe offers a comprehensive range of allied health courses and has strong clinical partnerships. We are ideally placed to conduct high-quality, interdisciplinary research that makes a real-world impact in physiotherapy, podiatry, prosthetics and orthotics.

Dr Casey Peiris
Department of Physiotherapy, Podiatry, Prosthetics and Orthotics

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