Dr Ross Cairns BSc (HONS), BM, PG Dip Sports Med, FACSEP

Dr Ross Cairns

I am passionate about looking after sportspeople of all ages and abilities in the Newcastle and Hunter region (and beyond!) which is why I founded Newcastle Sports Medicine in 2012 and have opened a state of the art multidisciplinary Sports Medicine clinic in Warners Bay. I am also a doting father of 2 fantastic little boys (Jack and Harry), a husband to an amazing lady (Dr Vanessa Cairns) and remain an active footballer and avid Tottenham Hotspur fan! I moved to Australia in 2005 a year after completing my medical degree in England and have never looked back. I met my wife to be soon after and started training in Sports & Exercise Medicine.


My drive comes from personal experience of having had injuries as a child and a young adult which could have been diagnosed better and treated much more efficiently. This curtailed a promising sporting career. I also experienced a major anterior cruciate ligament injury which took several years to overcome. My story is not unique and is familiar to many aspirational sportspeople out there so my goal now is to use my medical expertise to keep people playing and enjoying sport for as long as possible. I specialise in the diagnosis of difficult musculoskeletal problems and prescribing evidence-based (non-operative where possible) rehabilitation plans to speed up your recovery. To maximise your chance of recovery I work closely with dedicated Sports Physiotherapists and Sports Dieticians who have special interests in your problem area so you can be assured you are receiving world class care with a multidisciplinary team approach.

  • Ross in Myanmar with FFA U23's

I am also passionate about improving public awareness of all the benefits of exercise and in preventing injuries. To achieve this I regularly lecture to medical and physiotherapy students, GPs, Sports Medicine Registrars and physiotherapists and podiatrists. I have also (with help from Dr Joshua Manvell – many thanks) been able to incorporate Sports & Exercise Medicine into the University of Newcastle Medical Degree so more young doctors will have the skill sets to help active people with injuries and exercise-related problems in the future. In addition I lecture on evidence based injury prevention programs such as the FIFA11+ which can reduce injuries in team sports by 50%. I have also recently embarked upon a PhD to help discover how to keep heading safe for future generations of football players.

I have expertise in managing injuries of all joints and soft tissue (ligament, tendon, capsule) within the body but I have special interest areas too.

(To read more about Dr Ross Cairns, read his interview with Sports Medicine Australia)

My special interest areas include:

  • Acute soft tissue injuries
  • Tendon problems (tendinopathy, tendinitis, enthesopathy): tennis elbow, Achilles tendinopathy, Jumper’s knee (patellar tendinopathy), rotator cuff tendinopathy etc
  • Shoulder-related issues (frozen shoulder, rotator cuff tendinopathy, subacromial bursitis and impingement, scapular dyskinesis)
  • Anterior cruciate ligament injury management
  • Osteoarthritis (especially the hip and knee – evidence-based non-operative treatment programs)
  • Exercise-related shin pain (shin splints / medial tibial stress syndrome, stress fractures, chronic exertional compartment syndrome, popliteal artery entrapment syndrome)
  • Relative-energy deficiency syndrome / female athlete triad (the common combination of weight loss and stress fractures seen in endurance athletes)
  • Hydration and exercise-associated hyponatraemia in endurance athletes
  • Pelvic and spinal-related pain (sciatica, sacroiliac (SIJ) dysfunction, facet arthrosis, spinal canal stenosis, discogenic pain)
  • Ultrasound-guided injection therapies (cortisone, platelet-rich plasma, viscosupplements, hypotonic dextrose perineural injections, prolotherapy, sclerosant injections and high-volume image-guided injections)

My current roles include:

  • Socceroos Assistant Doctor
  • Chief medical officer for Northern New South Wales Football
  • Associate Lecturer for University of Newcastle
  • Director and Principal Physician of Newcastle Sports Medicine
  • Reviewer for Sports Medicine Journals
  • NSWIS accredited provider
  • Member of Sports Medicine Australia


  • Fellow of the Australisian College of Sports & Exercise Physicians (FACSEP)
  • Post-graduate diploma in Sports & Exercise Medicine: University of Auckland, NZ (PG Dip Sports Med)
  • Bachelor of Medicine (distinction): University of Southampton, UK (BM)
  • Bachelor of Science in Physiology & Biochemisty (1st class honours): University of Southampton, UK (BSc (HONS))

Published Research:

Previous Experience:

  • 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers Socceroos Team Doctor and Assistant Team Doctor
  • Tokyo Olympics 2020 (2021) Olympic Men’s Football Team Physician
  • Team Physician for the Australian Olympic Men’s Team (U23’s / Olyroos) 2016-2022
  • Socceroos World Cup 2018 Support Staff – Medical Officer
  • NSW Legends of League Medical Officer 2017
  • Team Physician for the Australian U17’s Team (Joeys) 2015-2016
  • AFC Asian Cup Venue Medical Officer 2015
  • Lake Macquarie International Children’s Games 2014 – Sports Medicine Director
  • Central Coast Mariners Team Doctor 2009 – 2016
  • GNW 100s ultra-endurance race doctor 2009 – 2017
  • Wanderers RFU Team Doctor 2013-2016
  • Merewether Carlton Rugby Union team doctor 2013-16
  • Special Olympics Medical Officer 2013
  • Endurance events: multiple events incl GNW 100s, 6 Foot Track and Bay to Bay 12km
  • Newcastle Knights NSW Cup Team Doctor 2009 – 2011
  • Newcastle Knights SG Ball Team Doctor 2009 – 2011
  • Newcastle Knights Harold Matthews Team Doctor 2009 – 2011
  • Moto-X Event Doctor – 2011
  • ARU Wallabies Medical Room Doctor – 2010