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Physical Therapy Settings

Physical Therapy Settings

Its been my experience that a lot of people only think of physical therapists as just working with athletes or in outpatient clinics but this couldn’t be less true!! Physical therapists work in innumerable settings!! Here are some examples of different settings physical therapists can work in.

1. Sports Physical Therapy Sports physical therapy focuses on the prevention, evaluation, treatment, rehabilitation, and performance enhancement of athletes. A sports physical therapists would work with athletes, coaches, parents, or the public to educate them about injury prevention, rehab injured athletes, and work with healthy athletes to maximize current performance.

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2. Women’s Health Physical Therapy Women’s health physical therapy focuses on issues specific to women’s health such as pregnancy, incontinence, rehabilitation following breast surgery, and wellness and fitness for women. Often times those with a women’s health specialty work in an outpatient clinic and see both orthopedic and women’s health clients.

3. Pediatric Physical Therapy Pediatric physical therapy focuses on promoting the highest quality of life for all children, especially those with developmental disabilities and their families. Pediatric physical therapists will often make home visits or work in day cares and schools. One of the benefits of this setting is the physical therapists is able to spend a lot of time focusing on individual children and their families.


4. Physical Therapy for Musicians  There are many unique physical problems faced by musicians and artists including posture problems and carpal tunnel syndrome. Physical therapists who work with musicians and artists focus on treating any injuries and keeping the individual in top shape to continue performing to the best of their ability.

5. Acute Care Physical Therapy Acute care physical therapists mostly practice in hospitals where they will begin physical therapy with hospital patients immediately after surgery, a stroke, spinal cord injury, or whatever else brought the individual to the hospital in the first place. The physical therapists goal in this setting is to minimize the length of the stay in the hospital and ensure the patient will be safe when he or she makes it home. Care often focuses on a patient’s ability to sit up in bed, use stairs, and walk short distances. A hospital setting is often very fast-paced, good for individuals who need to be highly stimulated at work.

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6. Aquatic Physical Therapy Physical therapy done in a pool is often significantly less painful for clients and has been shown to be more effective than regular physical therapy. Patients seeking orthopedic care, such as a knee replacement, can seek aquatic physical therapy. It also can be used to improve balance or aerobic capacity and is used with any aged client from pediatrics to geriatrics.

These six settings just barely graze the surface of all the different types of therapies and patients physical therapists work with and in. Be sure to check out the American Physical Therapy Association’s website for even more.



Hi all! My name is Meg Grant and I'm a 6th year physical therapy student with a passion for pediatrics here at Nazareth. I also have psychology and honors minors. In what little spare time I do have, I do my best to stay active in the music program here where I play oboe. Originally from Buffalo, I'm a huge baseball fan and avid cross-country skiier. I love to spend as much time as I can outside and am always working my way through multiple books. I hope to someday move out west and spend lots of time hiking in our national parks but for now I'm enjoying all that Rochester has to offer.