After a foot injury during a particularly enthusiastic kick-boxing session, a disappointing trip to the local doctor and three hours waiting for an X-ray of my injured foot, I booked an appointment with Ben Marsh at Six Physio. I’d wasted enough time with people telling me what wasn’t wrong with my foot, and I needed someone to find out what was.
Six Physio has various locations across London, and their team and website reveals an approachable, caring, and friendly vibe. I was worried that booking an hour’s consultation to have a moan about my poorly toe might be considered hypochondriacal (yes), whilst also nervous about what the process might entail, so phoned the reception team at Chelsea—to get the low-down of what an appointment might consist of and break the first barrier of my anxiety—before I secured the booking.
The Chelsea clinic is light and airy, and not the TCP-smelling white doctor’s room you might expect. There’s a relaxed atmosphere, as if you’re booked in for a massage or pedicure treatment. With two Pilates studios on the top floors for 1:1 sessions and rehabilitation, and a variety of assessment rooms, I felt like I was in safe hands (plus I was excited to see the Pilates reformer machine in action).
I’m always impressed with anyone who chooses a career that involves touching feet, but Ben was very passionate about his career choice as a physiotherapist, and particularly keen on sports physiotherapy—mending stiff joints on runners and the sore necks of Pokemon Go-ers.
Typically, by the time I had arrived to the clinic my foot had pulled a somewhat miraculous recovery—no longer was I hobbling around, and I’d regained full flexibility in my toes. I could have pirouetted like a dancer. Despite a quick diagnosis of some inflammation and bruising to my little toe (honestly, it was so painful I felt like I was walking on nails) Ben was attentive and didn’t make me feel like I was wasting his time.
When I asked whether a podiatrist or a physio would have been better suited to help my foot on the road to recovery, Ben assures me that Six Physio take a holistic approach to any injury—instead of treating the localised area of pain or damage, they will assess any tension in muscles that may feed into the traumatised part. ‘Don’t treat. Cure,’ he tells me, stressing that their aim isn’t to just relieve the problem, but to stop it from reappearing—such as experiencing a trapped nerve, or tennis elbow.
Instead of diagnosing and focusing on my foot (albeit bruised), Ben took into account the muscles connected to the foot, identifying that there may be tightness in my calf muscles that, after a massage, could relieve any tension in my foot and reduce swelling. He then applied tape around my foot to provide me with adequate support and stability, allowing me to walk evenly on the ball of my foot without over-compensating or limping.
Not only do they fix sore toes and other daredevil sporting injuries but Six Physio are one of the few places in London to offer oncology physiotherapy, improving the life of cancer patients. With specialist oncology physiotherapists, those who are suffering or have suffered from cancer can seek physio treatment for the various phases of their cancer treatment and take back control of their body and their life. I would definitely return to Six, with the knowledge that any ailment—whether a little toe or back pain—is in expert hands.