Chris Littlewood BHSc (Hons), MSc, PhD, Dip. MDT, FHEA

Senior Research FellowPhoto of Chris Littlewood

The University of Sheffield
Regent Court
30 Regent Street
S1 4DA

Office: Room 2.06 - Innovation Centre

Tel: (+44) (0)114 22 20888
Fax: (+44) (0)114 22 20870


Twitter: @PhysioChris


I am a physiotherapist and Senior Research Fellow with extensive experience in relation to musculoskeletal disorders. I have developed a special interest in the ‘rotator cuff’ borne out of clinical observation in tandem with the assumed complexity and mystique that surrounds these disorders.

In addition to further clinical training, I previously completed an MSc in Health Services Research & Technology. In 2011 I was awarded a UK Department of Heath Fellowship to undertake a PhD relating to the assessment & management of the rotator cuff. I have published numerous peer-reviewed papers relating to the rotator cuff and am regularly invited to national and international conferences to discuss this topic.

In addition to my clinical and research experience, I have a background in education having previously worked as a Senior Lecturer in Physiotherapy and gained a postgraduate certificate in learning and teaching. While continuing to pursue a programme of research, I supervise MSc and PhD students and am also an associate editor for BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders.

Research interests

To date my research has largely focused upon the assessment and management of lumbar spine and shoulder disorders and I have undertaken primary and secondary research in these areas. I am interested in developing these themes further, particularly in relation to the promotion of effective self-management strategies for musculoskeletal disorders.

Teaching interests

My teaching interests lie in research methods, critical appraisal and all aspects of musculoskeletal rehabilitation including therapeutic exercise and strategies to facilitate self-management, particularly in relation to the rotator cuff.

I currently co-supervise two PhD students:

  • Anna Lowe: ‘Promoting physical activity in physiotherapy practice’.
  • Adrian Malllows: ‘Predicting response to treatment in Achilles Tendinopathy’.

I would be interested in supervising further students interested in developing the physiotherapy related evidence base, particularly in relation to exercise and musculoskeletal disorders and implementation science.

Professional activities

I am co-editor-in-chief for the International Journal of Physiotherapy & Rehabilitation ( I am an associate editor for BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders and also a peer reviewer for a number of journals including the British Journal of Sports Medicine, Manual Therapy, Physiotherapy, PLOS One, Shoulder & Elbow and I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Current projects

  1. Rehabilitation following rotator cuff repair
  2. Dose response of exercise for rotator cuff tendinopathy
  3. Development of a decision support tool for patients consulting a physiotherapist with rotator cuff disorder

Key publications

Please click here to view a full list of Chris Littlewood's publications.


  • Littlewood C & May S (2013) Understanding Physiotherapy Research. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Journal articles