Collaborative care optimises patient outcomes

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Physiotherapist Kristen Steele with Dr Damian Smith.

Optimising outcomes for patients has always been the focus for orthopaedic surgeon Dr Damian Smith. This is a sponsored post.

OPTIMISING outcomes for patients has always been the focus for orthopaedic surgeon Dr Damian Smith.

“I wanted to look at managing patients surgically and, when appropriate, non-surgically with a view to expanding that vision into surgical rehabilitation,” says Dr Smith, whose orthopaedic practice, in.motion, is based in Belconnen and Woden.

“That evolved into bringing on board a physiotherapist.”

Dr Smith, who grew up in Canberra, is a highly trained orthopaedic surgeon with a medical degree from the University of Sydney.

After residency he embarked on the orthopaedic surgical program before returning to Canberra in 2008 as a consultant surgeon.

“Canberra is a fantastic place to live and a great place to raise a family,” he says.

Dr Smith, who specialises in lower-limb surgery with interests in hip and knee replacement surgery, sports injury and knee reconstruction, says it’s important to keep up with the latest developments in his area of speciality.

One of the most recent developments in orthopaedics has been the uptake of robotic-assisted, joint-replacement surgery.

Dr Smith says he was instrumental in the introduction of this technology to the Canberra region in October, 2017.

Dr Damian Smith and in.motion team members, from left, Maree Bryant, physiotherapist Kristen Steele and Ursula Slane McCann.

Since that first robotic-assisted operation was performed, hundreds of successful joint replacements have used this technology and Canberra now has three orthopaedic robots.

“There is a lot of medical literature being published showing improvements in the precision and accuracy of joint replacement with robotics,” says Dr Smith.

“Growing up, I was always active and sport was a big part of my childhood,” says Dr Smith, who was an AIS athlete as a teenager.

“Sport and movement are important to me and, I guess, that influenced my drive to go into the field of orthopaedic surgery.

“Being able to replace a worn-out arthritic hip or knee joint or reconstruct an injured knee that allows my patients to regain their mobility and independence or get back on the sporting field is extremely rewarding.

“I have always been of the belief that surgical outcomes and treatment plans can be optimised with allied-health involvement and exercise programs.”

This was the driving philosophy when Dr Smith opened in.motion orthopaedics in 2019, at Francis Chambers in Woden. His practice has expanded to the north side of Canberra with rooms at Cameron Avenue, Belconnen.

Physiotherapist Kristen Steele joined the team in October and Dr Smith says the practice model has been successful because he and Ms Steele share the same vision for their patients.

“Having in.motion physiotherapy means that for those patients that do not already have a physiotherapist, we can offer that service in-house,” he says.

If surgery is required, Dr Smith and Ms Steele work together to develop a pre and post-surgery treatment plan.

Before completing a Masters of Physiotherapy degree in 2016, Ms Steele’s background was in personal training and exercise physiology.

She says in.motion physiotherapy is experienced in treating a wide range of ailments from arthritis to sports injuries, neck and back pain.

Injury prevention is also important and in.motion offers physio-led Pilates classes, aquatic physiotherapy and group strengthening classes.

“The benefits of physiotherapy and exercise in the treatment of, say, arthritis are well established,” she says.

“Programs such as the ‘Good Living with Arthritis – Denmark’ (GLAD) have potentially made a meaningful difference in the quality of life of patients with arthritis.”

Ms Steele has just completed her GLAD qualifications and is currently studying nutrition.

in.motion orthopaedics, Francis Chambers, suite 4, level 2, 40-42 Corinna Street, Phillip (call 6221 9321), and 40 Cameron Avenue, ground floor, Belconnen (call 6190 1040); co-located with I-Med Radiology. Email or visit

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