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why you should see a physical therapist

3 Reason to See a PT When You’re Not Injured

by Athletico1 Comment

For most people, physical therapy is only considered after an injury or surgical procedure. Unlike medical doctors, dentists and eye doctors, people do not consider going to a physical therapist for yearly check-ups. However, if you are training for a particular event, interested in finding out your injury risk level for specific sports, want to improve your balance or are considering seeking preventative care to decrease risk of age-related issues, physical therapy may be the best option to consider. Physical therapists are trained to be movement experts. They evaluate their patients based on functional movement screens, strength testing, range of motion measurements and special tests to determine muscular deficiencies and imbalances. Discussing goals during your first session with your therapist will allow for performance of a specific exam and creation of a unique exercise program built for you. Here are three reasons you may want to consider seeing a physical therapist even though you may not be in pain or have an injury.

Physical therapy can help athletes avoid injury

There are many different areas in which physical therapy has been found to help prevent injury. One dominant area of research has been with female athletes and ACL injury prevention. Females tend to have two to three times increased risk of tearing their ACL as opposed to males who play the same sports at similar levels of exposure.1 This may be due to increased laxity of ligaments due to hormonal differences, a wider pelvis that changes knee angle, and potentially having a smaller ACL depending on anatomical factors. Risk factors for tearing an ACL include neuromuscular control deficits, poor running/cutting/landing form, hip musculature weakness, decreased core stability, and increased quadricep strength relative to hamstring strength. In a study performed with 44 female high school soccer players, physical therapists performed functional movement and balance tests, placing the girls into high to low risk injury categories. Then the athletes underwent an 8-week training program focusing on specific exercises to each athlete along with a dynamic warm up, jumping/core/agility drills, and a cool down. After the study, it was found that 21 of the 44 girls improved their risk category and decreased potential for future injury.2 ACL prevention programs have been implemented by physical therapists at many local high schools for their athletic teams and by contacting your local physical therapist you can find out more on how to set up an injury screening at your school.

Physical therapy can help reduce you or your loved one’s risk of falling

According to the Journal of American Geriatrics Society, falls are the leading cause of injury-related mortality in Americans over the age of 65.3 Some estimates indicate that elderly patients who visit the emergency department after a fall are at 25% risk for another visit to the emergency room that year and that 15% of those patients will die the following year.3 Falls can be caused by weakness, poor endurance, confusion and balance impairments. All four of these areas can be addressed by your physical therapist. Physical therapists work with patients to build strength, boost endurance and improve balance. In my practice, I have also addressed cognition with patients, giving them mental activities to think through while performing balance exercises. This challenges the brain to focus on a different task while also physically challenging the patient to remain upright. Physical therapists also have experience in working with patients who have Parkinson’s disease, are post-stroke, suffer from multiple sclerosis, and other neurological impairments.

Physical therapy can help manage arthritis and provide you with exercises to decrease pain

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 1 in 2 Americans will develop knee arthritis by age 85, and 1 in 4 Americans will develop hip arthritis at some point in their life.4 Arthritis is a form of joint inflammation. It is typically an age-related disease in which “wear and tear” on the joints leads to painful bone-on-bone contact. While this disease is not entirely preventable, visiting a physical therapist can help determine your risk category and exercises can be prescribed to help keep specific muscles strong and flexible to decrease the load on your joints. Your therapist may also advise an aerobic fitness program and simple dietary instruction for you to follow. Though you may not be experiencing pain now, becoming familiar with exercises to perform on a routine basis may help decrease your risk of feeling pain in the future. At the very least, your therapist will provide you with a home exercise program after you finish your last visit, so that if you do begin to feel joint pain later in life, you can look back at your exercises and try those before seeking medical attention.

These are three common reasons to attend a physical therapy session, even though you may not be currently injured. Of course, there are even more reasons that you may wish to see a physical therapist. For more specific questions, please do not hesitate to request a free assessment with Athletico. Assessments are available in-clinic and virtually through our telehealth platform.

Request a Free Assessment

Physical therapy is usually the thing you are told to do after medication, x-rays or surgery. The best way to fix your pain is to start where you normally finish – with physical therapy at Athletico. Schedule a free assessment in-clinic or virtually through a secure online video chat where our team can assess your pain and provide recommended treatment options.

The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

1. Smith, Helen C, et al. “Risk Factors for Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury: a Review of the Literature-Part 2: Hormonal, Genetic, Cognitive Function, Previous Injury, and Extrinsic Risk Factors.” Sports Health, SAGE Publications, Mar. 2012,
2. Huebner, Bethany J, et al. “CAN INJURY RISK CATEGORY BE CHANGED IN ATHLETES? AN ANALYSIS OF AN INJURY PREVENTION SYSTEM.” International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, Sports Physical Therapy Section, Feb. 2019,
3. Lesser, Adriane, et al. “Association Between Physical Therapy in the Emergency Department and Emergency Department Revisits for Older Adult Fallers: A Nationally Representative Analysis.” Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, vol. 66, no. 11, 2018, pp. 2205–2212., doi:10.1111/jgs.15469.
4. “Physical Therapy Guide to Osteoarthritis.” American Physical Therapy Association, 19 Aug. 2020,

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1 Comment

  1. Shammy Peterson

    The best part of your blog is when you said that physical therapy can prescribe exercises to keep specific muscles strong and flexible. As you said, this could decrease the load on your joints. With this in mind, I will convince my 78-year old aunt to consider physical therapy. She has been complaining about right knee pains, so she could not walk and jog in the morning anymore. What I want is for her to get the treatments that she needs in order to reduce joint pains.

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