Allan Besselink PT, Dip. MDT

Allan Besselink is a physical therapist in Austin, TX USA.  He’s an endurance sports coach, educator, and the author of “RunSmart: A Comprehensive Approach To Injury-Free Running”.  Allan is the founder of the Smart Life Project, a health initiative that provides sports science solutions for training, rehab, and life.  Allan completed the Diploma in Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy in 1998.  He served as the Chief Editor of the McKenzie Institute USA Journal from 1998 – 2005 and the inaugural year of the McKenzie Institute International Journal in 2006.  In his 26 years as a physical therapist, he has lectured extensively on a variety of topics including MDT, functional anatomy, clinical reasoning, and sports medicine.  He has presented at the APTA national conference, TPTA annual conference, the McKenzie Institute International conference, and the NATA national conference.  Allan will be presenting a pre-conference workshop (with Greg Lynch and Ole Meyer) entitled “MDT And The Athlete” at the 2015 MII International Conference in Copenhagen.

Show Notes

Personal Background

Originally from Canada but moved to Austin, TX after competing physical therapy school.  As an avid musician, the music scene was one of the greater draws to attract him to Austin. 

Professional Background

He emphasized much of his practice treating athletes especially runners and triathletes, some professionals and olympians.  Allan originally was trained at Queen’s University in Kingston Ontario Canada with a strong emphasis in manual therapy.  Allan remembers being quite resistant to going to part A but he had to allow himself to compare it to the literature.  He completed his Diploma in Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy in 1998.  He also was the editor of the USA MDT journal from 1998 through 2006.  Allan has been coaching athletes, particularly runners and has for several years owned his own practice and has been teaching PTA and PT students, teaching anatomy and therapeutic exercise. In 2008 he successfully published his first book called RunSmart: A comprehensive approach to injury-free running.  And finally he’s been actively involved in legislative efforts to obtain direct access in Texas.

Allan has learned great lessons from his involvement in teaching anatomy.  He recalls one of his co-instructor’s comments, “The body doesn’t read the atlases.”  Allan has gained the first-hand observation that anomalies are more common than we typical appreciate much like the many papers on abnormalities in asymptomatic populations. 


“It is within the interest of our patients and ourselves to prescribe simple and inexpensive methods in which the known clinical, biological and mechanical factors can serve as guides.”  Alf Nachemson

Early Struggles or Obstacles with Patient Care

Allan first thinks of when he was stuck with the mindset of doing “stuff” to his patients.  He believes part of it relates to his limited ability to think or clinically reason. 

When He Arrived at Better Outcomes

Allan thinks about when he learned that being mechanically inconclusive is okay.  In spite of not having a particular classification to put the patient in doesn’t mean he can’t effectively care for that patient and achieve a good outcome.