You Ok? Do you need a hand Toby?”

An ordinary enough question you might say in the morning rush heading out the door. But for my son, aged 11, whose use of his right arm was severely limited this year, the reply had never been so pertinent “Yes please mum, I really would like a hand!”

I was left in a state of despair earlier this year after my son’s sports injury was misdiagnosed and the medical professionals were at odds with how to help him get better. Toby, at the time was 10 and was a keen sportsman enjoying playing tennis, rugby, hockey-anything with a ball really. The initial doctor we visited at A and E dismissed us quickly after scanning the X-rays and ushered us rudely out of the exit telling my son he had a sore elbow and to go away and move it. Toby’s arm never recovered properly despite so many attempts to tell him he was fine and that he ought to be able to get back to everything. His arm was weak and painful at the elbow mainly and seemed to cause confusion amongst medical professionals. One physiotherapist worked on movement and gave my son a weight training regime which unfortunately, in the end, only made the matter worse. Visits to numerous GP’s and Consultants followed, and each struggled to diagnose and therefore direct us effectively towards a course of treatment. All the while my son was in increasing pain and in the end unable to use his right arm completely, despite his best efforts to follow what he had been told to do. Toby was in severe pain some 4 months after his initial injury and now was still unable to return not only to the sporting activities he enjoyed, but even simple tasks like writing and eating had become impossible.

By now he was effectively disabled but my suspicion that Toby was suffering with some kind of nerve pain led me to search for Jane Cumming, a local physiotherapist based in Braunton who I desperately hoped could resolve Toby’s problem. Jane was amazing from start to finish in her treatment for Toby. Her approach was so thorough, methodical and caring. She was clearly experienced and confident in dealing with children and had the expertise to deal with a complicated case that others had been wary to tackle. At last I had found someone who I could trust to get on with the job of getting my son’s arm moving again. She identified that the underlying cause of the elbow pain was nerve tension due to severe muscle imbalance as a result of a growth spurt and Toby’s biomechanics. Treatment involved explaining, hands on and careful, progressive muscle retraining and movement re-education for his neck, right hand, elbow, shoulder and core.

Toby is well on his way now to a full recovery and is back to all the sports he loves including rugby, hockey and tennis. I would just like to say a massive thank you to Jane for all her help and hard work with Toby and recommend to other parents of children with similar problems, the outstanding physiotherapy she provides.