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Essential Tools for Your Physical Therapy Practices

Physical Therapy Equipment Buying Guide

A physical therapy practice, whether operating out of a clinic or providing mobile in-home services, needs the right equipment to meet the rehabilitative needs of its clients. For anyone wondering what are the physical therapy tools to get for their practice, the first consideration should be to determine the focus of the practice. For example, a practice that helps patients recover from some major surgeries, such as joint replacements, may need weight and strength training equipment. Meanwhile, a mobile practice needs lightweight and portable devices and supplies to help clients exercise and improve mobility.

Some physical therapy item types include those for rehabilitation, exercise, fitness, and pain management. When researching how to choose physical therapy tools, it's also important to learn about the various test and measurement devices used in this profession. Other key product categories to consider when debating what tools do physical therapists use are first aid supplies and educational tools.

What Tools Do Physical Therapists Use for Rehabilitation?

This equipment helps recovering clients regain control of healing muscles and joints and improve their range of motion. They include tools for rehabilitation after ankle, hand, wrist, shoulder, and back injuries. Examples of this equipment are ankle straps, leg exercisers, TheraPutty®, wrist exercisers, hand grips, finger weights, and squeeze balls.

Consider the clients usually treated at the practice when debating how to choose physical therapy tools for rehabilitative therapy. A visiting therapist attending to office workers with wrist injuries needs tools like hand grips and squeeze balls. However, a therapy clinic that counts athletes as clients should get tools that can help with recovering from leg, ankle, knee, shoulder, wrist, and finger injuries. Multipurpose assistive devices like kinesiology tapes are essentials when considering what are the physical therapy tools to get for a sports-focused practice.

Physical therapy practices that work with clients with mobility impairment should also consider adding patient transfer items as well as walkers, crutches, canes, and wheelchairs to their equipment lists. As a client's mobility improves, the therapist must learn how to choose physical therapy tools for different degrees of mobility. Tools to consider include step stools, gait belts, mirrors, and orthotic devices. A treatment table is an important addition to any physical therapy practice. This piece of functional furniture is useful for both massage and rehabilitation exercises. There are different types of this table, including portable models that can fold away.

How to Choose Physical Therapy Tools for Exercises and Fitness

Recovering clients need to regain their strength and endurance during rehabilitation. This is why exercise is a big part of rehabilitative physical therapy. Physical therapy equipment includes the best exercise/fitness equipment to use at different stages of recovery. Examples of tools in this category are exercise balls, exercise mats, exercise bars, resistance bands, foam rolls, treadmills, and weights.

In addition to strength and endurance, physical therapy also aims to help recovering patients regain their balance and coordination. When wondering what tools do physical therapists use for these, look for balance tools and stability trainers. These include balance boards, beams, balls, pads, shoes, and discs. Inflatables are also effective for improving balance. Just remember when researching how to choose physical therapy tools for balance and coordination to choose latex-free products to accommodate clients with latex allergies.

What Are Physical Therapy Tools for Massage and Pain Management?

Massage is a key part of rehabilitation therapy because it can speed up patient recovery. Therapists need massage tables in their clinics for this purpose. Mobile physical therapy providers should opt for portable massage chairs and tables. There are other types of massage therapy tools recommended by many physical therapy buying guides. These range from massage guns and trigger point massagers to rotary, rolling, and vibrating massagers. Some of these are best for certain parts of the body, while others are for select body parts. It's also necessary to know when considering how to choose physical therapy tools for pain management that some equipment works best on soft tissues while others offer deep-tissue massages.

When asking what tools physical therapists use for massages, there are other pieces of equipment besides mechanical massages. Hot and cold therapies, as well as electrotherapy, can help with muscle recovery. Hot and cold therapies help muscles relax and increase blood flow to healing muscles and tissues. These outcomes are crucial to reducing muscle and joint tenderness, pain, and inflammation. For hot and cold therapies, a physical therapy practice needs supplies like ice packs, ice massage cups, and hydrocollators with hot packs.

Paraffin wax baths and massage creams are supplies to get when considering what tools do physical therapists use to relax tense muscles before and after rehabilitation sessions. Massage and pain management electrotherapy equipment includes electronic muscle stimulation (EMS) and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) units. Both types have electrodes that attach to the skin and send electrical currents as pulses to the muscles underneath. EMS causes muscle contraction and is useful for reducing swelling and inflammation in muscles. TENS reduces pain by stimulating nerve endings and promoting the release of endorphins, a group of pain-relieving chemicals naturally produced by the body.

Test and Measurement Devices for Physical Therapy

Complete physical therapy buying guides often include mentions of the equipment used by therapists to assess clients' conditions when they start therapy and track their signs of progress during rehabilitation. These include common medical equipment, such as blood pressure monitors and stethoscopes. Physical therapists need blood pressure monitors and stethoscopes to monitor clients' cardiovascular health and ensure recommended exercises are not overstraining them. Other diagnostic tools include thermometers, tape measures, and Health o Meter® scales.

There are also specialized tools to consider when wondering how to choose physical therapy tools for measuring muscle, tendon, and tissue recovery. For these measurements, physical therapists use goniometers, grip dynamometers, and reflex hammers. A reflex hammer is small diagnostic equipment for testing deep tendon reflexes. It's helpful for tracking recovery following a knee injury.

Goniometers are the devices to get to measure the range of motion at joints. After taking a baseline measurement at the beginning of rehabilitation, a therapist can assess the effectiveness of interventions used to improve joint flexibility with this device. A grip dynamometer measures handgrip strength. Choose dynamometers when considering what are the physical therapy tools for measuring the progress of clients recovering from hand and wrist injuries.

Medical and First Aid Supplies Needed in Physical Therapy Practices

While discussing the tools needed to help clients recover from injuries, complete physical therapy buying guides must also mention those needed to address accidents, injuries, and medical emergencies that may occur during physical therapy sessions. Essential medical and first aid supplies include automated external defibrillators, cotton swaps, gauze, band-aids, rubbing alcohol, tongue depressors, ACE™ bandages and wraps, diagnostic lights, and penlights. These are useful for stabilizing injured clients before they can get full medical attention at hospitals.

When learning how to choose physical therapists' tools for managing medical emergencies, it's necessary to understand the nature and causes of clients' injuries. Exercises and other routines recommended during physical therapy sessions may prove too strenuous for certain clients. It's also possible for the medical emergencies reported to have no relation to the physical therapy routines but caused by clients' underlying conditions.

What Tools Do Physical Therapists Use as Teaching Aids?

Visual aids are effective at helping clients understand their injuries and how recommended exercises contribute to their rehabilitation. A physical therapy clinic should have posters and anatomical models for this purpose. For mobile physical therapy practices, physical therapy buying guides recommend digital devices, such as tablets, computers, and mobile apps, as educational tools.

Learn what tools physical therapists use before starting a practice to help patients recovering from physical injuries. Essential physical therapy tools include those needed for rehabilitating healing muscles, joints, tissues, tendons, and joints. Other necessary pieces of equipment are devices needed for massage, fitness, and pain management as well as tools for measuring clients' progress, attending to medical emergencies, and educating them about their recovery. When looking for where to buy essential tools for a physical therapy practice, check the wide selection of healthcare instruments available at Hopkins Medical Products®.

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