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Leadership, now and the future

Many of you will have attended the WCPT congress 2015 in Singapore in May. More than 3000 physiotherapists and physical therapists from around the world gathered for an outstanding and vibrant gathering of our global confederation of 111 members. Those in attendance were treated to the best WCPT congress to date, packed with exceptional speakers. To add to the celebrations our own Dr Emma Stokes was elected President of WCPT, a wonderful achievement for an outstanding physiotherapy leader; we extend our warmest congratulations.

In this issue the theme of leadership within the physiotherapy profession is explored by McGowan and Stokes. Over 600 physiotherapists responded to their survey, and it is clear from the results that the importance of leadership is recognised within the profession and that physiotherapists are keen to embrace leadership opportunities and development. If the new WCPT network for students and early career physiotherapists (WCPT Future: is anything to go by, it seems the future of physiotherapy is in good hands. However, leaders of the future need to be nurtured and supported, I know that this will be a theme of Dr Stokes’s Presidency.

I hope you will enjoy the papers we have on the shoulder joint in this issue. Dr Wassinger, from East Tennessee State University and a member of our Editorial Board, has provided a commentary on visual observation of scapulohumeral rhythm, something we have all used many times to inform clinical decisions, but worth taking another look! Dr Day and colleagues from the Universities of South Alabama and Kentucky present an interesting study examining the difference in scapulohumeral muscle strength and endurance, between dominant and non-dominant arms. It appears that differences in muscle strength and endurance between dominant and non-dominant arms are perhaps not as large or clinically important as imagined, more food for thought.

Two papers in this issue with important messages about clinical services are those by Fay and Cunningham and Condon et al. Fay and Cunningham present a survey of the awareness and management of osteoporosis among general practitioners in Ireland. These authors are to be congratulated on conducting this survey among what is traditionally a difficult audience to engage. Their survey identified that, while awareness and management of osteoporosis among women was good, there was perhaps some work to be done to heighten the awareness of osteoporosis in men. The authors emphasised that the role of physiotherapists in promoting bone health should be emphasised to general practitioners. Condon et al. report the finding of a large retrospective audit of pulmonary rehabilitation in two large teaching hospitals. These authors report that, while referral for pulmonary rehabilitation was adequate, uptake by patients was poor. Early intervention with pulmonary rehabilitation in those with chronic lung disease can prevent hospital re-admission. These authors have highlighted an important area of service development that could result in real clinical improvements and cost savings, hopefully funding will be made available to bring thiswork forward.

I hope the review on the diagnosis of Cauda Equina Syndrome by Woods et al. is of interest to readers. Cauda Equina Syndrome is, thankfully, not something physiotherapists see every day, but it is something that those working in musculoskeletal physiotherapy should be ever mindful of. This review will I hope stimulate some thought.

Draz et al. from the University of Cairo, report the results of a randomised controlled trial examining the relationship between knee osteoarthritis (OA) and ankle proprioception and muscle function in older patients. These authors report that knee OA is associated with deficits in ankle proprioception and muscle function. This work adds to the evidence that rehabilitation programmes, for those with knee OA, should also include ankle rehabilitation.

I am also delighted to present our regular brief paper on statistics by Dr Gissane, our statistical advisor. Dr Gissane, with his usual clarity, answers the vexed question that researchers always ask: ‘How many will I need for this study’. I have no doubt that this is a paper that will be read and re-read by many.

I hope you enjoy this issue of Physiotherapy Practice and Research, the physiotherapy profession is going through challenging times both locally and globally. However, we are fortunate to have some exceptional leaders in our profession who, I have no doubt, will steer us through the difficult times ahead. The physiotherapy profession also has some young and talented physiotherapists who will be our future leaders, some of whom are published in this issue. We need to support, encourage and nurture our emerging talent; Physiotherapy Practice and Research will play its role.