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Karen Barker


Professor of Physiotherapy

Karen Barker is Professor of Physiotherapy at the Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences (NDORMS) at the University of Oxford.

She trained at King's College Hospital, London qualifying in physiotherapy. She obtained a Masters degree in Ergonomics from the University of Loughborough (1991) and a PhD from Oxford Brookes University (2001) researching muscle function and recovery associated with limb lengthening surgery.

Karen held a number of clinical positions within London teaching hospitals before moving to Oxford in 1988 and joining the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre. During this time Karen has worked in clinical posts, as a Smith & Nephew Research Fellow and as Head of Therapy Services.

She currently holds the posts of Clinical Director for Trauma & Orthopaedics at the Oxford University Hospitals Foundation Trust and Head of Physiotherapy at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre. She is a visiting Professor at Oxford Brookes University.

In 2013 she was awarded fellowship of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

She is currently PI for two large HTA funded trials looking at the effectiveness of physiotherapy for osteoporotic vertebral fracture (PROVE trial) and community based rehabilitation after knee arthroplasty (CORKA trial).

Her other main research interests are in chronic pain, qualitative research and the implementation of research findings into clinical practice.


Research Interests

  • Rehabilitation post arthroplasty
  • Physiotherapy interventions and effect of service delivery models
  • Non surgical management of chronic back pain.
  • Limb lengthening
  • Clinical trials in rehabilitation of common musculoskeletal conditions