Meet the team
The Circle Reading physiotherapy team consists of an multidisciplinary team of experienced physiotherapists and specialised therapists.
Cathy Cronin, Physiotherapist MCSP
After graduating from the Manchester Royal Infirmary, Cathy gained a wide range of experience working in the NHS, including pioneering a domiciliary service for the elderly. Following a short career break and a move to Berkshire, she worked alongside numerous consultant orthopaedic surgeons in a variety of private settings, developing her skills in hands-on musculoskeletal physiotherapy, lecturing, and management. Cathy was also physiotherapist to two youth synchronised ice-skating teams at Bracknell ice rink for 6 years. She was involved in training, national and international competitions.
Cathy is a clinical specialist in upper limb musculoskeletal rehabilitation with a special interest in complex work or activity related disorders. She joined CircleReading hospital in 2012 to assist with its opening & development of the upper limb service.
Away from work Cathy loves to spend time with her three grown-up children; keep fit Ceroc dancing; improving her drawing skills; exploring the Spanish language and culture; and travelling.
Michael Downward, Inpatient Physiotherapist
Mike originally studied Science and Management of Exercise and Health at the University of Surrey, graduating with an honours degree in 2009. The following year he began studying Physiotherapy at the University of Brighton, graduating in 2013. During this time he worked as a physiotherapy technician at Frimley NHS Trust on elective and trauma orthopaedics. Once qualified, Mike spent a further two years at Frimley working in musculoskeletal and orthopaedic physiotherapy. He is now specialising in inpatient orthopaedic physiotherapy. Mike has a special interest in lower limb procedures following a rupture to his anterior cruciate ligament in 2013.
Outside of work, Mike is a keen motorcyclist and footballer. He has played for Eversley FC and Crookham Rovers over the past ten years.
Mike Dye, Sports Therapist BSc, MSOST, Physiotherapy Assistant
Mike graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University in 2010 with an honours degree in Sports and Exercise Therapy. Since graduating he has worked with many sports clubs, including Wallingford Hockey Club and Henley Cricket Club, but now specialises in rugby rehabilitation. He works closely with Reading Abbey, Maidenhead, and Bracknell Rugby club, as well as the Berkshire and Oxfordshire Rugby Teams. His work has taken him to Dubai and Menorca with the Hollywood 7’s rugby team, and travelled around England with Apache, in the series 7’s rugby tournament, including stadiums such as Twickenham.
Mike leads several fitness classes at Circle as well as seeing clients on an individual basis. He uses a variety of treatment methods - sports massage, mobilisations, exercise programs, taping, brace fitting, and electrotherapy - to enable his patients to receive the best management in helping them gain a full recovery. He is currently involved in designing a non-surgical weight loss programme.
In his spare time Mike leads a very active lifestyle. He is an all-round sportsman who enjoys rock climbing, snowboarding, badminton, and football.
Richard Forbes, Physiotherapist BSc, MCSP
Richard qualified from Coventry University in 2003 and began working at the Royal Berkshire Hospital the same year. After completing his junior rotations he specialised in hand therapy since 2009. Since then he has worked closely with many consultant hand surgeons, including in their outpatient clinics, before leaving RBH to join CircleReading full time in 2015. As part of this speciality he is a member of The British Association of Hand Therapists (BAHT). He is a qualified injection practitioner; can fit custom moulded splints; and is able to use imaging, such as x-rays and MRIs, to aid in diagnosis.
He maintains an interest in the whole upper limb and worked alongside the shoulder specialist physiotherapist at RBH and here at CircleReading.
He is trained in the use of acupuncture as an adjunct to his other treatment modalities.
He is a keen cricket player and as a level one cricket coach, has an interest in cricket related sports injuries.
Debbie Friel, Physiotherapy Administrator
With seventeen years of experience at A.B. Walker and Son, Funeral Directors - a spell during which she was honoured with Pride of Reading's prestigious "Employee of the Year" award - Debbie serves as the backbone of our administrative function. An integral component since Circle Reading's creation back in 2012, Debbie has overseen the department's development from its nascent stages into the flourishing operation it is today. In her spare time, Debbie is a stalwart supporter of Reading F.C.
Stephanie Heyes, Inpatient Physiotherapist
Stephanie qualified in 2012 with a First Class Physiotherapy Degree at Sheffield Hallam University. She then progressed through her physiotherapy rotations in the NHS for two years, gaining experience across the acute medical, orthopaedic and musculoskeletal outpatient specialities. She is now a permanent inpatient physiotherapist at Circle Reading specialising in orthopaedics, with a special interest in the shoulder.
Alongside her hospital based role Stephanie also works at Reading Abbey Rugby Club continuing her sports injury interest and developing further her musculoskeletal skills. In her spare time Stephanie plays rugby for the ladies team at Reading Abbey and enjoys walking and cycling in the local countryside.
Emily Kneale, Physiotherapist MCSP
Emily qualified from Oxford Brookes University in 2010 and worked at Beacher Hall in Reading for eighteen months helping set up the new physiotherapy department there. She has since worked at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital for the past four years gaining experience in inpatients and outpatients (including orthopaedics, medical, surgical, outpatients) before specialising in musculoskeletal physiotherapy where she has worked in fracture clinic alongside orthopaedic consultants as well as doing hydrotherapy and ACL rehab.
Emily enjoys treating all musculoskeletal conditions and treats them using a variety of techniques including soft tissue therapy, manual therapy and acupuncture. She has a particular interest in dance injuries. Emily has been dancing since a young age and continues to do ballet regularly to keep fit.
Hannaa Malik, Inpatient Physiotherapist
Hannaa graduated from King’s College London in 2011. Following graduation, Hannaa worked in an outpatient setting, gaining experience in the treatment of patients who had been involved in road traffic accidents. She then worked with a rehabilitation case management company for nearly three years, which involved triaging patients, administering physiotherapy advice, and managing the patient journey. Hannaa joined Circle Reading in May 2015 as she wanted to expand her skillset in inpatient orthopaedic physiotherapy.
In her spare time, Hannaa enjoys spending quality time with her family, keeping active with outdoor activities to keep her adrenaline pumping, and travelling the world.
Karolina Michalowicz, Physiotherapy Administrator
Karolina has a degree in English Philology which she studied in Poland, her home country. She has wide ranging experience of hospitality, but decided in 2013 to move into the healthcare industry and has been with Circle Reading hospital ever since. Karolina started her work life at Circle Reading in medical records, but has now moved into the physiotherapy administrator role.
In her free time she is a keen dog walker and trainer, assisting her partner who trains dogs full-time; she loves eating sweets and burning them off at yoga classes; and is, also, determined to work through her bucket list and takes any opportunity to tick activities, such as ice skating and archery, or attending events, such as, Royal Ascot and Henley Rewind Festival, off her list. It gives her a real sense of achievement!
Claire Stevens, Physiotherapist BSc MCSP
Claire has gained orthopaedic experience in a number of hospital settings since qualifying from St George’s University in London in 2010. She has been an active member of the physiotherapy team at the Circle Reading since it first opened in 2012.
Claire has previously worked in both inpatients and outpatients, but her passion for outpatients has resulted in a permanent move into this area. She has a specialist interest in sports injuries and in her spare time, provides physiotherapy for Abbey Rugby Club members. She has also worked at Reading Football Club academy.
She uses a range of techniques when treating her patients, including soft tissue management, manual therapy, and acupuncture. As well as leading several classes, Claire is currently involved in developing CircleReading’s ACL service.
Outside of work Claire captains the ladies team at Abbey Rugby club.
Charlotte Wood, Physiotherapist BSc, PG(Dip) MCSP
Charlotte has been working as an outpatient physiotherapist in a variety of settings for the last sixteen years. She enjoys a range of outpatient work, where she has a very hands-on approach with patients. This may include manual therapy, acupuncture, and electrotherapy.
Charlotte has completed a post-graduate diploma in Occupational Health and Ergonomics and is a specialist in this area. This allows her to go out to businesses and assess employee’s office space in order to help minimise work-related health problems. She has also recently qualified as a ‘Pink Ribbon Instructor’, enabling her to teach a specialist programme of Pilates exercises to those overcoming breast cancer.
Stuart Wylie, Physiotherapist BSc, MCSP
Stuart qualified from Brunel University, London in 2010 with a first class honours degree. He initially worked in NHS settings treating inpatients and outpatients before specialising in orthopaedic and musculoskeletal physiotherapy. He has also worked for Reading Football club, treating the club’s academy players.
Stuart has a special interest in the knee (the result of a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in 1995), and the shoulder. As a keen runner, he enjoys working with patients to improve their running gait and form, assessing and treating any biomechanical issues that may affect their movement patterns and contribute towards injuries.
Outside of work Stuart enjoys spending time with his two children. He is a keen runner, cyclist, footballer, and occasional triathlete, and cricketer.