Physical therapy focuses on the evaluation, management, and prevention of disorders of human motion.
Physical therapists (PTs) are important members of the rehabilitation (rehab) team. They evaluate and provide treatment for persons with health problems and disabilities caused by injury, disease, overuse of muscles or tendons, pain, or loss of a body part.
PTs focus on restoring a person's movement (mobility) and function. They also help prevent further disability.
PTs may provide treatment and education for:
Balance and gait retraining
Heat and cold therapy and massage
Activities of daily living (ADLs)
Casting and splinting
Wheelchair, walkers, canes, and crutches
Use of braces and splints (orthotics) and prosthetics artificial limbs (prosthetics)
PTs work in many settings, including:
Inpatient rehab centers
Outpatient rehab centers
Community and home health settings
Industrial health centers
PTs have either a master's degree or a doctorate from a school accredited by the American Physical Therapy Association. To practice, all graduates must be licensed by their state by passing a national certification exam.