Q&A with Shane Brennan

Mid West Physiotherapy is delighted to have a new physiotherapist on our team. Shane Brennan joined us in September 2021 so you may or may not have met him yet; hence we thought it would be nice to ask him a few questions so that you can get to know him too. Learn why he decided to become a physiotherapist, his approach to patient care, and why he sometimes struggles just like everyone else to get out and exercise!


1. What led you to a career in physiotherapy?

I grew up as the 4th of 5 children in a sport mad family. If I wasn’t down at the field at training for football, hurling or soccer, I was outside in the back garden kicking ball with my brothers. As I grew up, inevitably I picked up knocks, and I suppose my early (and frequent) interactions with physiotherapists planted a seed which came to fruition when I decided to study physio in RCSI.


2. Describe your career to date?

Varied! I have held a lot of positions in my 7 and a half years as a physio. I stared working in nursing homes in Limerick and Clare before progressing to work in University Hospital Limerick for 4 years. Initially I was part-time in UHL and combined my hospital work with private practice work in my native Clare. While I loved my time in UHL, I knew my passion was in private practice physio, so in 2018 I made the decision to move to London to gain more experience in sports & musculoskeletal injuries. There I worked with the Crystal Palace Physio Group. I loved my time in London and gained a lot of valuable experience but was delighted to move back to Ireland in 2021.


3. What has been the highlight of your career so far?

Getting a job at Mid West Physiotherapy!!! (Haha, thanks Shane!)


4. What is the best thing about your job as a physiotherapist?

There is great variety in every day, and it is an excellent opportunity to meet some really interesting people. Obviously, it is also great to think that something you do can make a positive impact on somebody’s day and overall improve their quality of life. There is something exciting about working with somebody to get them back doing what they love.


5. You’re meeting a patient for the first time, what is your approach?

I like to get to know somebody first, I think it’s important as a physio to find out as much as possible about the person, but rather than having a long list of questions, I like to just have a chat. Sometimes this may seem like a waste of time, but it is important to me that everyone who comes in feels comfortable in the space, and hopefully we get better outcomes as a result. It’s important to me that the patient feels listened to, and that together we come up with an approach that suits the patient’s goals.


6. What is the typical patient journey like with you?

While every patient journey is unique, they tend to follow a framework. Initial assessments are all about finding out Why the patient has the issue and What we can do about it. Together then we will figure out How we can overcome the issue – The How is the most difficult part and requires a lot of collaboration between myself and the patient. There is no point in me prescribing a load of exercises to be done at home if the patient has no interest in doing exercises! As we progress through the treatment program and strength, mobility and pain are all improving, we will try to construct a plan to make sure that the patient has strength going forward to prevent the issue recurring.


7. What are your clinical specialities and why do they interest you?

My specialist area of interest is the foot and ankle, particularly in a sporting context, but also in a non-sport setting as well. Our feet are so important to us in our daily lives, that more than any other body part, we can really struggle if they are in pain. I have experienced quite a lot of foot pain in my own life, so I really feel I can empathise with patients who come in with sore feet & ankles!


8. Tell us about an interesting case that you’ve treated lately.

All my cases are interesting! I have seen some interesting ankle sprains recently now that people are returning to sports and activity after Christmas. I’m finding that patients are focussed and determined to work on strengthening, and it’s great to see the positive outcomes.


9. What is it like to work at Mid West Physiotherapy?

Mid West Physiotherapy is a great place to work. From the moment you walk in the door to when you leave in the evening, there is a warm, friendly atmosphere that promotes positivity & ensures a calm work environment. The atmosphere here is one of learning & development, and I can feel myself improving as a physio every day that I am here.


10. How do you incorporate movement/activity into your own life?

When I’m not chasing a football around a field, I have the same struggles as everyone else getting out and exercising. I like to cycle or run to/from work where possible – which isn’t often the case with the weather we are having at the moment! When the weather allows, I love to get & walk the Three Bridges or the riverbank walk.


11. With the weather still cold and the evenings still short, what advice would you give to people to help them to stay active throughout the Winter months?

It’s really understandable that people would struggle with exercise at this time of year, I have difficulty with it myself! I think the big thing is that it is really easy to find an excuse – it’s too cold, too dark, too wet. What is key with improving activity levels & maintaining any type of exercise, is finding something that you like. So for some people that’s getting out to a class at the gym in the evening, for others it means catching a few minutes at lunchtime to get out for a short walk. If your exercise can become an integral part of your day it will be easier to maintain as the conditions get more challenging. The important thing to remember is that anything is better than nothing – don’t be hard on yourself if you’re not getting an hour of exercise a day. Start with 10 minutes and go from there!


12. When should someone seek physiotherapy?

Anybody can come for physiotherapy anytime! Obviously, we mainly see people after they have had an acute injury, or maybe if an issue has been grumbling away for some time. My advice would be – if you have an issue, don’t wait. Get it seen to early & save it from progressing. Often there is a simple fix for a lot of issues, but unless we go to the physio & find out what the simple fix is, they can become bigger issues in our head!


13. How can I book an appointment with you? 

You can book an appointment with me through this link – I’d love to see you. Or alternatively you can contact our Clinic Reception on 061-201444 or emailing info@midwestphysio and our reception team would be delighted to help you out.

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