About Professor Kathryn Refshauge

Kathryn is strongly motivated by the need to improve the effectiveness of treatment of musculoskeletal injuries and to prevent chronic disability. Her particular passion is to understand the underlying mechanisms of these chronic injuries that finally lead to severe disability such as ankle osteoarthritis and chronic back pain.

Professor Kathryn Refshauge is an internationally recognized leader in research in musculoskeletal injury, in particular sports injuries and back pain.

Professor Kathryn Refshauge is Chair of Physiotherapy, and Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at The University of Sydney.  She has both clinical and academic expertise in musculoskeletal physiotherapy with particular expertise in assessment and management of low back pain and sports injuries.  Kathryn’s laboratory-based research has resulted in the development of several novel tests for disability arising from sports injuries, and has led to the design of new prevention and treatment strategies for sports injuries and for back pain.  Her clinical research includes several large prognostic studies and clinical trials investigating treatment efficacy for musculoskeletal injuries.  This work has changed our understanding about these conditions and has had a major impact in the field, e.g. she has developed methods to measure patient-relevant outcomes, and acute low back pain can no longer be considered as a benign self-limiting condition, contrary to the recommendations in all international guidelines.

Kathryn is often invited to present her work at international conferences.  In addition to her 150 publications in peer-reviewed journals, Prof Refshauge has authored or co-edited 3 books and 17 book chapters.  She is a member of a NHMRC grant review panel and a member of several Editorial Boards of international journals.  Kathryn has led several international debates concerning issues related to professional practice, in particular about the relevance of “proprioceptive training” for sports injuries and the safety of neck manipulation.  For these reasons, she was invited to lead the development and update of the guidelines for testing to optimise safety of neck manipulation.  She was also invited to represent the health professions in the development of the original NHMRC guidelines for best practice in the management of acute pain.  Kathryn has been awarded several prizes and awards and is also a Senior Research Associate at the Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute, Sydney, and at St Vincent’s Clinic, Sydney.

Selected publications

  • Hiller CE, Nightingale EJ, Raymond J, Kilbreath SL, Burns J, Black DA, Refshauge KM. (2012). Prevalence and impact of chronic musculoskeletal ankle disorders in the community. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 93: 1801-1807
  • Leaver A, Maher CG , McAuley JH, Jull GA, Refshauge KM (2012). Characteristics of a new episode of neck pain. Manual Therapy (accepted May 2012).
  • Linton SJ, Nicholas MK, MacDonald S, Boersma B, Bergbom S, Maher C, Refshauge K. (2011). The role of depression and catastrophizing in musculoskeletal pain. European Journal of Pain. 15: 416-422.
  • Leaver AM, Maher CG, Latimer J, Herbert RD, Jull G, McAuley JH, Refshauge KM (2010) A randomised controlled trial comparing manipulation with mobilisation for recent onset neck pain. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 91: 1313-1318.
  • Costa LM, Maher CG, Herbert RD, Latimer J, Hodges PW, Refshauge KM, McAuley J, Jennings M. (2009). Motor control exercise for chronic low back pain: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Physical Therapy. 89: 1275-1286.
  • Pengel LHM, Refshauge KM, Maher CG, Nicholas M, Herbert RD, McNair P. (2007) Randomised controlled trial comparing the efficacy of exercise, advice or both for sub-acute low back pain. Annals of Internal Medicine. 146: 787-796
  • Sawkins K, Refshauge KM, Kilbreath SL, Raymond J (2007). The placebo effect of ankle taping in ankle instability. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 39:781-787.
  • Hiller C, Refshauge KM, Bundy A, Herbert RD, Kilbreath SL. (2006). The Cumberland Ankle Instability Tool (CAIT): A Valid and Reliable Tool for Measuring Functional Ankle Instability. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 87: 1235-1241.
  • Scarvell J, Smith PN, Refshauge KM, Galloway HR, Woods KR. (2006). Does anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction restore normal knee kinematics? A prospective MRI analysis over two years. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (British) 88-B: 324-330.
  • Salmon L, Russell VA, Refshauge KM, Kader D, Connolly C, Linklater J, Pincewski L. (2006). Long-term outcome of endoscopic anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction with patellar tendon autograft: minimum 13-year review. American Journal of Sports Medicine. 34: 721 - 732.