What to Look for in a Physical Therapist

Things to look for in a great physical therapist and physical therapy practice 

With the high volume of health care clinicians in the city, it can be challenging trying to separate the good ones from the great ones. Here are things to look for to make sure you’re receiving the best care for yourself:

Dedicated Time

If you have ever visited a high-volume practice, you know that getting time with your physical therapist can be quite challenging. You may be lucky if you get 15-20 minutes with your PT before the PT aide comes to finish your session. And even then your aid may be juggling a few patients at once, teaching exercises to another patient on top of you. At great practices, you’ll spend your entire session one-on-one with your Doctor of Physical Therapy.

Why this is important: 

By getting an hour of uninterrupted treatment time, your PT can better manage your symptoms, modify your treatment plan, and monitor your progress. This ensures that every minute of your session is tailored specifically to you. What this means is that you get better and you get back to doing what you love much faster. 

Pro tip: At MAVEN, your treatment session will always be 1 hour one-on-one with your Doctor of Physical Therapy. 

Big Picture Approach

During a typical session, you’ll see a physical therapist for pain or injury to a specific body part, but you may find that they are also addressing other areas in your body. For example, you may be visiting for an ankle issue, but your DPT is also giving you exercises for your hips. 

This is because everything in your body is connected. This means that areas separate from your primary injury may actually be affecting the primary area as well. This can look like tightness, weakness, or coordination/balance deficits. This includes taking previous injuries and medical history into consideration.

Why this is important: 

If your therapist is only focusing on the primary area, they may miss a key factor to your initial injury. Ignoring the fuller picture can lead to your PT overlooking an underlying root cause. Addressing the primary injury is necessary during your PT visits, but considering other areas is also essential! 

Pro tip: At Maven, your Doctor of Physical Therapy will take a holistic approach to your assessment.  A global assessment of your injury will uncover any root causes, making sure it doesn’t lead to reinjury in the future. 

Follow Through 

Accountability is an essential part of the PT-client relationship. Both of you need to do the work together. It can be challenging to get consistent care if you’re always seeing a different PT on each visit. At great practices, you’ll have a primary Doctor of Physical Therapy that you’ll see every visit. 

Why this is important: 

When you’re changing therapists often, it’s hard to keep treatment consistent. Receiving too many treatment styles and exercise programs makes it difficult to track your progress. This will make managing your treatment plan all the more challenging. It’s also hard to make sure every one of your therapists communicates with one another to be on the same page. 

When you have one primary PT, they’ll be better able to monitor, manage, and tailor your plan of care. This familiarity creates trust and they’ll know how hard to push you and which treatment styles you respond to best. That means progressing quicker than you would otherwise! 

Something to consider: 

There are many patients that prefer seeing multiple therapists. They value the different perspectives and styles in treatment. If you are considering this, we recommend limiting it to 2 therapists. This will make it much easier to maintain consistent communication between the two therapists, while still benefiting from the variation in treatment. 

Pro tip: At MAVEN, you will always work with the same therapist (or in rare cases, 2 therapists) to make sure your treatment and plan of care remain consistent. We all meet on a weekly basis to make sure that therapists that share a patient are always on the same page. In the event that a therapist is out of the office, the other therapists are adequately briefed and prepared for those sessions. 

Specificity

It always helps to work with a PT that can make your rehabilitation as individualized as you need.  We build your plan to the specific body region that you are working on and to your specific activity. 

Working with a therapist with an athletic background similar to yours can be helpful, as they will better understand the movement patterns, training techniques, and training intensity unique to your sport. 

Physical therapists can receive specialty training through residencies and continuing education to elevate their rehabilitation skills, such as specializing in orthopedics or sports or having a strength and conditioning certification.

Why this is important: 

A Doctor of Physical Therapy must go through rigorous training to receive a specialty certification, in the same way that athletes go through rigorous training for their sport. This gives our PT team personal insights into the demands of sports and their positions. All this is to offer the highest level of evidence-based care to you.

Pro tip: At MAVEN, our Doctors of Physical Therapy are Board-Certified Specialists in either orthopedics or sports, many of whom are also Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists. They all have varied athletic experiences (both personally and clinically) including tennis, soccer, ballet, baseball, and more! 

Experience Leads to Success

When rehabilitating an injury or reducing pain, we all want to get back to doing the things we love quickly. Working with a reputable physical therapy practice will help you return to your activity safely and swiftly.