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Accepting PhD Students

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Personal profile

Professional Activities

  • Member of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP)
  • Member of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)
  • Member of the Musculoskeletal Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (MMACP)
  • Member of the Physiotherapy Research Society (Committee member)
  • Member of the British Elbow and Shoulder Society (BESS)
  • Member of the European Shoulder and Elbow Rehabilitation (EUSSR)

Research Group Membership



Musculoskeletal injuries and physiotherapy treatment.

Academic Background



Dr Rachel Chester is a Lecturer in Physiotherapy at the University of East Anglia, and Freelance Physiotherapist at Sportsphysio, UEA Sportspark.

Rachel has worked clinically since 1987, mainly in musculoskeletal practice. This has been primarily within the NHS, also privately and abroad. Rachel has published in a number of musculoskeletal areas. In more recent years, Rachel's clinical and research interests have focussed on the assessment and rehabilitation of people with upper limb problems, in particular shoulder pain.

In 2011, Rachel was awarded a prestigious NIHR Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship. Rachel led a prospective multicentre study of over 1000 patients with shoulder pain, to identify prognostic factors associated with the outcome of physiotherapy management. The main results have been published and are being presented at national and international conferences. Further analysis of the data is continuing and will be followed by more publications.

Rachel teaches on both the BSc and MSc physiotherapy and occupational therapy courses at UEA, mainly anatomy and musculoskeletal. Rachel also teaches on post graduate courses and programmes and prior to embarking on her Doctorate was Course Director for the MSc in Advanced Musculoskeletal Research and Practice at UEA. She is currently module co-coordinator for the BSc year one physiotherapy practice.  

Rachel is keen to co-supervise PhD students who have an interest in research in prognostic factors and/or musculoskeletal problems.

Key Research Interests and Expertise

Between 2011-2015 Rachel was awarded an NIHR Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship.

She was Chief Investigator for a multicenter cohort study (n~1000) “Shoulder pain: predicting response to physiotherapy treatment”. Rachel is currently preparing and submitting the results for publication and presenting the results at national and international conferences.

Earlier research has included studies of reliability of manual therapy in assessing stiff spinal joints. Rachel has also been part of a team which involved

  1. measurement and physiotherapy management of patella instability,
  2. a large RCT of immediate weight bearing mobilisation following Achilles tendon ruptures,
  3. leading a reliability study of computer dynamometry in assessing functional recovery following Achilles tendon ruptures and
  4. a trial of heavy-load eccentric calf muscle training versus ultrasound therapy for chronic Achilles tendon pain.


NIHR Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship £313,532

Chester R, Jerosch Herold C, Shepstone L, Lewis J
Awarded March 2011, completion February 2015
Topic: Longitudinal cohort study: Indentification of prognostic factors for functional recovery following physiotherapy management of musculosksletal shoulder pain.

Norfolk and Suffolk Comprehensive Local Research Network (CLRN), NIHR Flexibility and Sustainability Funding. £8743

Chester R, Pomeroy V, Shepstone L
Awarded January-May 2009
Topic: Funding to develop a research protocol and support training in medical statistics.

Learning and Teaching Fellowship, University of East Anglia £3000

Chester R and Bruce J
Awarded 2001
Topic: Accessibility and the Web: Ensuring that Web Materials are Accessible to Visually Impaired Users.

Key Responsibilities

Former key administrative posts and responsibilities

  • 2008 - 2010    Course Director, MSc in Advanced Musculoskeletal Research and Practice
  • 2002 - 2010    Health Schools Post Graduate Teaching Committee
  • 2002 - 2004    Course Director, MSc in Manipulative Physiotherapy
  • 1998 - 2002    Physiotherapy Admissions Officer, BSc (Hons) in Physiotherapy

Teaching Interests

Musculoskeletal Theory and Practice (Particular interest in the upper limb)

Clinical Anatomy

MSc and BSc Dissertation Supervision


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