Physical therapy is designed to help patients with abnormal physical function. With the help provided by professional assistance or physical therapists, physical impairments from injuries, disabilities, disease or other conditions can be treated to reduce pain or allow you to regain strength.
To receive the best results during your physical therapy visits, it’s important to come prepared. Wearing the right clothing can make performing exercises easier and more comfortable. Your physical therapist will also have less difficulty examining your injuries or target areas where you are experiencing issues.
If you don’t have an idea on what to wear upon your arrival, here are a few clothing options that physical therapists recommend to their patients.
For your first physical therapy appointment, be prepared for a physical therapist to perform an examination. You will be able to speak with trained specialists about the problems you have been experiencing, goals you wish to reach, and any other concerns. Together, you and your PT can focus on getting to the root of what may be causing the problems you are experiencing.
The examination conducted by your physical therapist will be used to determine how you will move forward with your rehabilitation. You and your PT will come up with a plan after the examination is complete on what is to come and how you can achieve the goals you have set for yourself.
Range of motion (ROM) measurements
Tests of strength
Neurological screening tests
For each test during the examination, a physical therapist will give you instructions about what to expect while performing the movements and what you should be doing. They are there to guide you, answer any questions, and make sure you stay safe while carrying out exercises. Once the exam is complete, you can get started on your PT treatment plan. Depending on how you feel and your physical ability during future visits, the plan may be altered and other benchmark tests may take place to monitor your progress.
During your physical therapy appointment, you will be moving around a lot. It’s important to wear clothing that is comfortable, breathable, and meant for physical activity. Many people don’t take into consideration the type of injury they have when wearing clothing for their appointment. It’s important to not cover injured areas with restricting articles of clothing. For example, if you experience knee pain and are getting treatment from your PT, it is a good idea to wear athletic shorts instead of pants.
Footwear is just as important as the clothing you choose. Always keep in mind that you will be performing physical activity that may require closed toe shoes. It’s best to wear tennis shoes or sneakers with socks for your appointments to ensure you are safe.Your physical therapist may ask for you to remove your shoes at some point depending on your injury, but it’s best to come prepared and ready to do anything that is asked.
Wear loose or form fitting shorts, elastic waist preferred. By wearing shorter shorts, it will allow a PT to get a full visualization of the legs.
Try to wear a bra top (preferable), sports bra with an open back or bikini style top. Refrain from wearing racer-back sports bras or sports bras that cover the center of the spine. This is very important because the spine needs to be visualized for scoliosis/kyphosis physical therapy.
Your physical therapist will recommend you arrive in shorts if you have hip pain, knee pain, or ankle pain and a shirt that allows access to your shoulder and arm, if you experience shoulder pain. During your appointment you do various exercises and movements. Wearing clothing that you can easily move around in will make performing the tasks you're given you simpler. Physical therapists suggest you ask yourself questions that pertain to the exercises you may do during your visit. Before you leave to attend physical therapy, make sure you can squat, do a plank, or throw a ball in the clothes you have picked. For any extra garments you may want to bring, a jacket may be a good choice because your appointment may end in a cool down that consists of icing your injury.
Physical therapists treat many upper body injuries. A common target area patients are treated for is the shoulder. For those who come in for their shoulder, it’s best to wear a tank top or baggy t-shirt that allows easy access for your physical therapist to work on you. Patients who wear fitted shirts, long sleeve shirts, and sweaters may have a harder time during their physical therapy appointments if working on rehabilitating upper body injuries. It’s best to refrain from wearing these types of garments if possible.
Lower body injuries are similar in the sense that it is easier for physical therapists to treat your injury when garments are not in the way. One of the more common lower body injuries patients come to get treated are knee injuries. If you are wondering what to wear for a knee injury, consider wearing shorts or a pair of pants that can be rolled up like leggings. Try to avoid wearing skinny jeans.