Physical Therapy (PT), a component of rehabilitation, aims to use forms of exercise to mitigate pain, increase mobility, and restore strength to the body following illness, injury, or surgery.
Exercises are often augmented with physical therapy equipment to further develop endurance, function, flexibility, and movement.
Since no two physical therapy programs are identical, a physical therapist’s equipment list must be all encompassing. To answer the question, ‘what equipment do physical therapists use’ the list should include a variety of evaluation and treatment tools. Specialized physical therapy equipment and exercise tools for home use in between appointments are also a must.
Equipment and tools used in physical therapy range from the basic exercise ball to high tech steppers and bikes. In this article we will explore:
- Essential Physical Therapy Equipment for Clinical Settings
- Considerations for Choosing Physical Therapy Equipment
- Physical Therapy Equipment List FAQs
We will also answer frequently asked questions about the physical therapy equipment list necessary for clinics to help restore patients to a healthy life.
Essential Physical Therapy Equipment for Clinical Settings
Evaluation and Assessment Tools for PT
Before treatment can begin it is important to have an accurate picture of the physical limitations that have brought a patient to physical therapy. Interview assessments go a long way to building rapport but some patients, wary of physical therapy, may try to present themselves as stronger than they are. Therapy assessments that evaluate movement and function provide an evidence base diagnosis and by extension proper treatment plans.
Tools such as Goniometers, Dynamometers, Inclinometers, and Pinch Gauges commonly used during initial consultations establish baseline ranges of motion and muscle strength. Assessments with these tools are also taken periodically throughout treatment to measure progress.
Measurements from these protractor-like tools are the foundation upon which the proper physical therapy treatment plan is built. As therapy progresses, treatment plans may be adjusted based on information collected during a periodic assessment.
Physical therapy equipment lists should begin with a variety of evaluation and assessment tools.
Treatment and Rehabilitation Tools for PT
Physical therapy equipment lists include a mix of exercise equipment, physical therapy furniture, ultrasound and electrotherapy devices, mobility aides, and walking aides.
Adding weight or resistance to basic exercises makes them more challenging by engaging more muscles.
The following exercise equipment is important for treatment plans that include repetitive exercises:
Physical Therapy Furniture
Build your physical therapy equipment list with an eye to maximizing treatment options and containing cost with multi-use gym equipment. Support cardiac, shoulder, knee, and hip rehabilitation with:
- upright and recumbent stationary bikes
- parallel bars,
- stair climbers,
- elliptical machines,
- rowing machines, and
- physical therapy tables.
Don’t be fooled. While this equipment may look like standard gym equipment it isn’t.
Physical therapy equipment offers broader access points, wheelchair accessibility, more handles, and sturdy grip bars to accommodate the restricted range of motion experienced by rehab patients. This equipment also features:
- slower speeds and more program options,
- braille, or larger screen sizes for clients with vision difficulties and
- louder notification tones for those who are hard of hearing.
Ultrasound and Electrotherapy Devices
Research has shown that ultrasound and electrotherapy offers the therapeutic benefit of reducing inflammation, decreasing pain, and speeding healing through increased blood flow to an area.
While not in the physical therapist equipment list category of “basic equipment”, devices such as
- Ultrasound Machines,
- Electrical Muscle Stimulation Units and
- TENS Machines
are valuable for immediate patient comfort and achieving long term physical therapy goals.
In the Physical Therapy environment these aides help patients feel more secure, stable, and take weight off injured and healing lower extremities.
It is essential that assistive devices such as walkers, canes, and wheelchairs be on a physical therapy equipment list so they are available to patients while they rebuild lost strength.
For some patients, PT may need to take place while they are using a wheelchair. Extremely limited mobility or complex medical issues may require the use of a wheelchair while strength is being reclaimed.
Considerations for Choosing Physical Therapy Equipment
Whether purchasing physical therapy equipment to fulfill a personal physical therapist equipment list or outfitting a clinic with tools used in physical therapy, versatility is key. Choose equipment that can be used for multiple therapies and exercises.
Other considerations include:
- How often a device or tool will need replacing due to wear?
- What equipment and tools should be duplicated in the facility?
- Safe storage of equipment like weights?
- Is physical therapy equipment ADA compliant?
Finally, consider what consumable tools, resistance bands for example, will be given to patients for at home use. Will patients be charged?
Physical therapy treatment plans are as diverse as the patients being treated.
Physical therapy equipment lists must be all encompassing. From the low-tech balance ball to high-tech stationary bikes, the right physical therapy equipment is as important as the recommended exercises for positive patient outcomes.
CME Corp offers a wide and comprehensive selection of physical therapy products. Give CME your list and we will source the best equipment, at the best prices.
With Direct-To-Site delivery service your physical therapy equipment will be assembled or installed as required and delivered when it is convenient for you and your patients.
Physical Therapy Equipment List FAQs
What are 4 types of physical therapy?
Like so much in healthcare, Physical Therapy is becoming specialized. Four common focus areas are:
- Occupational Physical Therapy
- Geriatric Physical Therapy
- Pediatric Physical Therapy
- Rehabilitative Physical Therapy
What is physiotherapy equipment?
Physiotherapy equipment is any equipment used in rehabilitation for pain relief or that enhances the blood flow to promote healing to muscles and other soft tissues of the musculoskeletal system. Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) and Ultrasound Machines are two common examples.
What are examples of Physical Therapy?
Physical therapy treatment plans may include weight and resistance exercises, exercises on equipment like bikes or treadmills, massage treatment, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, or dry needling.
How do you prepare a patient for physical therapy?
As assessment of the patient’s movement and function must be conducted before any treatment plans are implemented. Assessment may include a questionnaire, interview, and/or physical measurements of range of motion or muscle strength.
About CME: CME Corp is the nation’s premier source for healthcare equipment, turnkey logistics, and biomedical services, representing 2 million+ products from more than 2,000 manufacturers. With two corporate offices and 35+ service centers, our mission is to help healthcare facilities nationwide reduce the cost of the equipment they purchase, make their equipment specification, delivery, installation, and maintenance processes more efficient, and help them seamlessly launch, renovate and expand on schedule.