All about the fitness and health lifestyle
All about the fitness and health lifestyle

7 Things to Look for in a Sports Physical Therapist

Last Updated:
November 28, 2023

7 Things to Look for in a Sports Physical Therapist

As an athlete or even an active person, injuries are inevitable. When you sustain an injury, it is important to let it heal completely. To get full movement and strength back many injuries require physical therapy. Now, not all physical therapists are the same, so you want to find one that suits your injury and recovery needs. However, it can be difficult to know what things to look for in a sports physical therapist. Below is a guide full of questions you should be asking potential physical therapists before choosing one.

1. How much experience does the sports physical therapist have?

Find out how long they have been practicing and where they have worked previously. Check the reviews from previous clients and of the practice they are working at. If it is difficult to find reviews, you may want to move on to the next option.

2. Do they have experience working with athletes?

This is an important qualifying question as an athlete’s recovery needs are different from the standard person's. Ask how many years of experience they have working with athletes, or what percentage of their clientele are athletes. If less than half of their experience is with athletes, they may not be the right choice for your needs.

3. Do they have a certification in Sports Performance?

Sports physical therapists often have additional training specializing in high-impact injuries and active recovery. Find out if the physical therapist has credentials from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) or the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). Having a physical therapist who truly understands the mechanisms, movements, and muscle use for your sport is key. After all, knowing how the body is impacted by sports and high-intensity training will greatly aid in an athlete's recovery.

4. Are they active?

Finding a sports physical therapist that is active and involved in sports can help give you peace of mind. An active physical therapist is also more likely to create a recovery plan that involves training. This can ensure that you are still on track to hit your goal or compete, even with an injury.

5. Do they work full-time?

If the therapist is only working part time they may not have as much experience as you would like. After all, working for 10 years part-time could equal as little as 3 years of full-time experience. Additionally, a part-time physical therapist is likely to have limited appointments available, making it more difficult to fit in with your schedule.

6. Do they use assistants?

For the best recovery results, you want to be seeing the same physical therapist at every appointment. This will ensure continuity with your treatment and the more comfortable you will be with them. Being comfortable with your sports physical therapist is important as it helps to build trust, and with trust comes easier communication.

7. How is the atmosphere at the clinic?

It is important to visit the clinic where you will have treatment and take a tour of the facility. Feeling comfortable throughout your treatment will help you recover faster, and ensure that you are relaxed at your appointments. Being relaxed at your appointments improves recovery time as you are not working against strained muscles.

Above are the key things you should look for in a sports physical therapist. It is so important to find a physical therapist that you feel comfortable with and that has experience with sports injuries. These details will help you to make a full recovery and get back to full-scale training sooner. Additionally, a dedicated sports physical therapist can give you tips on how to avoid injuries in the future.

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