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What is Physical Therapy?

Updated: Sep 21, 2022

In our second post in honor of National Physical Therapy month, I thought we’d take a look at a common question- what is physical therapy? Also sometimes worded as “what do physical therapists do?” Well, the answer isn’t exactly straight forward, read on below to find out more!

Broad range of specialties

Physical therapists work in an array of settings and therefore have a very wide scope of practice. PTs can work in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, outpatient clinics, and even in their patients’ homes! The American Physical Therapy Association has nineteen different sections which represent nineteen different fields of PT. Within these sections, there are often what are called special interest groups which are like “sub-sections” representing even more diversity of that particular field of PT. These cover everything from animal physical therapy to research in the field of physical therapy. The American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties recognizes ten specialties in which PTs can earn a board certification ranging from orthopedics to wound management. So you can see that what a physical therapist does varies dramatically by what setting they work in!

Altitude Physical Therapy