physical therapy jumping jacks

This may sound like a silly question to most, but a comment Physical Therapists hear a lot after helping someone run a marathon, compete in a triathlon, or lift record weight is “I didn’t know there was physical therapy for athletes, I thought it was just for hip replacements and knee replacements and stuff!”

Long story short, you cannot be too athletic for PT. Physical therapists have a unique set of skills that can be applied to improve power, efficiency, and performance. That being said, if you are an athlete seeking PT, not all clinics are created equal. Make sure you ask questions regarding physical therapy for athletes over the phone before deciding on a PT. For example, if you’re trying to get back to CrossFit, ask to speak with a PT and talk to them about the movements you’re trying to get back to. You want to be sure that when selecting a PT you have someone who knows how to get you out of your pain and progress you all the way back to your sport.

Make sure when you’re in PT that you understand how each exercise links to your recovery and your overall goals. If you’re unsure, ask! There should be a thoughtful explanation behind each movement. That being said, let’s talk about some red flags, or indications that you should switch PTs.

  1. Your exercises, sets, and reps never change.

    1. As you get out of your injury state, you want to see meaningful progressions that are explained clearly and pertain to your goals.

  2. You  never see the PT and the aide doesn’t know exercise

    1. It can sometimes be okay that the PT is with another patient if their aide or tech knows about each exercise and can answer your questions. If this isn’t the case, it’s not a good sign.

  3. Nobody else is like you

    1. If you look around and you’re the youngest and most athletic person by a long long long shot, physical therapy for athletes obviously isn’t this clinic’s wheelhouse.

The most important thing to know about PT as an athlete is that the PT profession is not only suited to take you out of an injury state and back to performance, but to ensure you also ensure you don’t experience an injury in the first place. Many injuries can be stopped before they occur or quickly remedied if addressed promptly. Forming a good relationship with a PT who keeps your body in top working condition is a wise idea for any athlete to consider.