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Personal profile

Academic Biography

John is a Professor of Applied Physiology and Rehabilitation, and the Associate Dean (Research & Innovation) in the School of Health & Life Sciences. As a member of the senior executive team he is responsible for leading and developing the research and innovation in the School.

John has a first-class honours degree in Physiology and his PhD was an investigation of quadriceps muscle function in patients with knee osteoarthritis. John’s research interests include the assessment and management of painful neuromusculoskeletal conditions such as patellofemoral pain, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis, and also interventions such as exercise and footwear to improve balance and functional ability. He is interested in the importance of muscle function in health, disease and rehabilitation, and in the relationship between ageing and decline in physical function such as strength and balance.

John is a Section Editor of BMC Sports Science, Medicine & Rehabilitation. He is a member of the Executive Team of the NIHR Research Design Service North East and North Cumbria. He was a member of the R&D Committee of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy from 2010 to 2018, and is a facilitator of the North East Hub of the Council for Allied Health Professions Research (previously the Allied Health Professions Research Network). He was a Committee Member of the Physiotherapy Research Society from 2008 to 2014, serving as Chair of the Society from 2012 to 2014.

Summary of Research Interests

Research interests (in brief):

• Muscle function

• Gait and balance

• Assessment of impairments in neuromusculoskeletal physiotherapy

• Interventions to improve functional ability

External research funding since 2008:

NE&NC Research Design Service - 2018. Funder NIHR.  Co-applicant.

'Improving gait by way of plantar tactile stimulation: an exploratory randomized controlled trial of the effects of prolonged wear of textured shoe insoles in people with Multiple Sclerosis' - 2014. Funder: Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia.

'Cardiovascular health wireless monitoring system for occupational drivers' - 2013. Funder: Singapore Ministry of Education Translational Innovation Fund.

'The long-term effects of textured shoe insoles on balance, walking ability and function in people with MS' – 2012. Funder: Multiple Sclerosis Society. Principal Investigator.

'Targeted intervention for patellofemoral pain syndrome' – 2011. Funder: Arthritis Research UK.

'Wearing textured insoles in shoes to help self-management for people with MS: an exploratory study of the effects on balance' - 2009. Funder MS Society. Principal Investigator.

'Do textured insoles affect postural stability and lower limb muscle activity in older adults prone to falling?' – 2008. Funder Physiotherapy Research Foundation.

External Research Collaboration:

• AUT University, New Zealand

• Queensland University, Australia

• Ithaca College, USA

• Republic Polytechnic, Singapore

• University of Central Lancashire

• University of Southampton

• Dept of Rehabilitation, James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough

PhD supervision

Successfully completed

Determining the mechanisms by which textured insoles improve balance. Director of Studies (2020)

 The effect of abdominal exercises to correct the Inter-Recti distance in postnatal women with a diastasis of rectus abdominis (2019).

The long-term effects of textured shoe insoles on balance, walking ability and function in people with MS (2017).

Virtual rehabilitation for multiple sclerosis (2015).

Exergaming acceptance and experience in older people (2014).

The effects of exergaming on technology acceptance, flow and postural control in a healthy people (2014).

Clinical and cost-effectiveness of foot orthoses in established rheumatoid arthritis (2013). Director of Studies.

Development of a high-intensity exergaming system: pre-clinical and modelling phases. (2013).

The Effect of Textured Surfaces on Postural Stability and Lower Limb Muscle Activity during Quiet Standing in Healthy Young and Older Adults (2010). Director of Studies.

An EMG analysis of quadriceps femoris during exercise in adults with acute ACL injuries (2009).


Lay Khoon Lau. Validity of the measurement of cervical joint position error in determining the deficits of cervical spine joint position sense.

James Watson. Improving gait and balance in people with low back pain: the effect of education about pain.

Sarah Taylor. Sensorimotor function in MS.

Matt Scott. The effect of motor imagery during action observation on motor execution.

Dan Tough. The effects of exergaming on balance, walking ability and function.

Kirsti Loughran. Pain and gait in COPD.

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Research Output

Balance Impairment in individuals with COPD: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis

Loughran, K., Atkinson, G., Beauchamp, M., Dixon, J., Martin, D., Rahim, S. & Harrison, S., 10 Mar 2020, (Accepted/In press) In : Thorax.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Open Access
  • 2 Downloads (Pure)

    Pain neuroscience education for adults with chronic musculoskeletal pain: a mixed-methods systematic review and meta-analysis

    Watson, J., Ryan, C., Cooper, L., Ellington, D., Whittle, R., Lavender, M., Dixon, J., Atkinson, G., Cooper, K. & Martin, D., 1 Mar 2019, In : Journal of Pain. 80 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

    Open Access
  • 28 Downloads (Pure)

    The effects of textured insoles on cortical activity and quiet bipedal standing, with and without vision: an EEG study

    Kenny, R., Eaves, D., Martin, D., Behmer Jr., L. P. & Dixon, J., 6 Jul 2019, (Accepted/In press) In : Journal of Motor Behavior.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Open Access
  • 101 Downloads (Pure)


    The effect of textured surfaces on postural sway and lower limb muscle activity during quiet standing in healthy young and older adults

    Author: Hatton, A. L., 12 Nov 2010

    Supervisor: Dixon, J. (Supervisor), Rome, K. (External person) (Supervisor) & Martin, D. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis