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


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

Office: 2030

Tel: (+44) (0)114 222 0888
Fax: (+44) (0)114 272 4095


Twitter: @PhysioChris


I joined ScHARR in 2011 and in August of that year was awarded a National Institute for Health Research Doctoral Research Fellowship. Prior to this I was employed as a Senior Lecturer in Physiotherapy at Sheffield Hallam University. I have previously worked as a physiotherapist in the NHS and private sector.

I have recently completed a PhD relating to the assessment and management of rotator cuff tendinopathy.

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.

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.

I currently co-supervise one PhD student, Thamer Altaim, who is working on measurement of outcome in the area of low back pain.

Professional activities

I am a member of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and also the McKenzie Institute Mechanical Diagnosis & Therapy Practitioners (MIMDTP) Clinical Interest Group for whom I currently co-edit the journal 'With the Tide'. I am an associate editor for BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders and also a peer reviewer for the British Journal of Sports Medicine, Manual Therapy, Physiotherapy, Physiotherapy Research International, the Journal of Manual and Manipulative Therapy, Shoulder & Elbow and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Current projects

  • NIHR Doctoral Research Fellowship
  • A mixed methods study to evaluate the clinical and cost effectiveness of a self-managed exercise programme versus usual physiotherapy for chronic rotator cuff disorders: the SELF study.
  • Rehabilitation following rotator cuff repair

Key publications

  • Littlewood C, Bateman M, Clark D, Selfe J, Watkinson D, Walton M, Funk L (2014). rehabilitation following rotator cuff repair; a systematic review. Shoulder & Elbow (In Press).
  • Smith B, Littlewood C, May S (2014). An update of stabilisation exercises for low back pain: a systematic review with meta-analysis. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders (In Press).
  • Littlewood C, Malliaras P, Mawson S, May S, Walters S (2014). Patients with rotator cuff tendinopathy can self-manage, but with certain caveats: a qualitative study. Physiotherapy, 100, 80-85.
  • Littlewood C, Malliaras P, Bateman M, Stace R, May S, Walters S (2013). The central nervous system - an additional consideration in 'rotator cuff tendinopathy' and a potential basis for understanding response to loaded therapeutic exercise. Manual Therapy, 18, 468-472.
  • Littlewood C, Malliaras P, Mawson S, May S, Walters S (2014). Self-managed loaded exercise versus usual physiotherapy treatment for rotator cuff tendinopathy: a pilot randomised controlled trial. Physiotherapy, 100, 54-60.
  • Littlewood C, May S, Walters S (2013). Epidemiology of rotator cuff tendinopathy: a systematic review. Shoulder & Elbow, 5, 256-265.
  • Littlewood C, May S (2013). Understanding Physiotherapy Research. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  • Littlewood C, Ashton J, Scott E, Mawson S, May S, Walters S (2013). Developing the SELF study: A focus group with patients and the public. International Journal of Therapy & Rehabilitation, 20(4), 200-206.
  • Littlewood C, May S, Walters S (2013). A review of systematic reviews of the effectiveness of conservative interventions for rotator cuff tendinopathy. Shoulder & Elbow, 5(3), 151-167.
  • Littlewood C, Malliaras P, Mawson S, May S, Walters S (2013). Development of a self-managed loaded exercise programme for rotator cuff tendinopathy. Physiotherapy, 99, 358-362.
  • Littlewood C, Ashton J, Mawson S, May S, Walters S (2012). A mixed methods study to evaluate the clinical and cost-effectiveness of a self-managed exercise programme versus usual physiotherapy for chronic rotator cuff disorders: protocol for the SELF study. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 13:62.
  • Drew B, Smith T, Littlewood C, Sturrock B (2012). Do structural changes (eg, collagen/ matrix) explain the response to therapeutic exercise in tendinopathy. British Journal of Sports Medicine (doi 10.1136/bjsports-2012-091285).
  • Littlewood C (2012). Contractile dysfunction of the shoulder (rotator cuff tendinopathy): an overview. Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy 20(4): 209-213.
  • Littlewood C, Lowe A, Moore J (2012). Rotator cuff disorders: A survey of current UK physiotherapy practice. Shoulder & Elbow, 4, 64-71.
  • Littlewood C, Chance-Larsen K, May S, Sturrock B (2012). Exercise for rotator cuff tendinopathy: A systematic review. Physiotherapy, 98(2), 101-109.
  • Littlewood C, Chance-Larsen K, May S, Sturrock B (2012). The quality of reporting might not reflect the quality of the study: Implications for undertaking and appraising a systematic review. Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy, 20(3), 130-134.
  • Littlewood C (2011). The RCT means nothing to me! Manual Therapy, 16, 614-617.
  • McLean S, Burton M, Bradley L, Littlewood C (2010). Interventions for enhancing adherence with physiotherapy: A systematic review. Manual Therapy 15(6):514-21.
  • May S, Chance-Larsen K, Littlewood C, Lomas D, Saad M (2010). The reliability of physical examination tests used in assessment of shoulder patients – a systematic review. Physiotherapy 96(3):179-90.
  • Littlewood C, May S (2007). Measurement of range of movement in the lumbar spine - what methods are valid? A systematic review. Physiotherapy 93(3):201-11.
  • Littlewood C, May S, (2007). A Contractile Dysfunction of the Shoulder. Manual Therapy.12, p. 80-83.
  • May S, Littlewood C, Bishop A (2006). Reliability of procedures used in the physical examination of non-specific low back pain: a systematic review. Australian Journal of Physiotherapy 52(2):91-102.