Professional tennis player turned physiotherapist, Emma Hurst, reached number two in Great Britain (under 18s), played in the pre-qualifying rounds at Wimbledon and achieved a world ranking before suffering a career ending injury… joins the team at Elite Physical Medicine.

Written by: Andy McCrea

Emma Hurst Joins EPM

Emma first picked up a racquet when she was 5 years old and by ten she was playing county level tennis. She was playing National competitions at 14 and at 18 she made her international debut. She reached No2 in Great Britain at under 18s and one of her career highlights was winning a gold medal representing GB at the world university tennis champs in 2017. She won a professional doubles title in the same year and played in the pre-qualifying of Wimbledon.

In June 2018 Emma suffered a knee cartilage tear, she underwent surgery and desperate to maintain her world ranking she returned to play too early and suffered another tear while at a tour event in South Africa.  After a furtr two episodes   Emma chose not to go down a third surgical route.  Having lost her world ranking Emma decided to pursue her other dream of becoming a physiotherapist.  Remarkably while competing on tour she had studied Sports and Exercise Science part time at the University of Bath.   She continued her education studying for her Masters at Oxford Brookes during which time she completed a clinical placement at Elite Physical Medicine in Aylesbury which was to lead to her first full time role.

Lessons learned

What I learned in a professional environment was the importance of goal setting when undergoing rehabilitation. We were regularly set targets for example, data driven goals for range of movement and strength. I feel that this should not be any different whether you are professional athlete or someone who might be post op or managing osteoarthritis. At Elite I use force plates and dynamometers where I can capture patient data and set specific goals.

What I also apply from my career is that we should take a holistic approach to injuries and not solely focus on the involved joint. When rehabilitating my knee I worked on pelvic stability hip and calf strength as well as knee exercises, the body is a delicately balanced kinetic chain and rehabilitation must consider all components.

Finally, when on the professional circuit we had a team approach, I was excited to join Elite as they have a similar collaborative approach and where I could work alongside Sports Medicine Consultant Dr Moiz Moghal, sonographers, nutritionists and strength and conditioning specialists.

Elite Physical Medicine welcomed Emma to their team of experienced practitioners in September 2021. She is committed to applying her personal experience of training and recovery for international competitions, to creating the best possible outcomes for patients whether they are elite athletes or those suffering from day to day  back pain.

"Emma is an incredibly driven young woman and an impressive role model for female athletes and students alike. Not only that, she’s quickly become a skilful and accomplished therapist with the very deepest level of empathy for her patients."