Sports Physical Therapists: What To Expect From Your First Appointment

Oct 26, 2023

When you’re about to attempt anything for the first time, it’s a good idea to manage your expectations. In the world of physical therapy, it’s no different. When you’re embarking on a journey of healing through sports physical therapy, it’s wise to know just what to expect—from start to finish. Working through a treatment plan can be such a pivotal time full of growth, strength, and development. Read on to learn more about sports physical therapists and what to expect from your first appointment. 

Getting to know you. It’s so important for your physical therapy team to get a sense of where you are—physically. It’s likely that at your first appointment for sports physical therapy, you’ll be asked to provide basic information about yourself, your medical history, and your injury or condition. It will also be helpful to discuss your sport and how your issue has been affecting your performance or your ability to participate. 

Get assessed. Figuring out where you are, physically, includes getting a baseline assessment of your health and ability. Sports physical therapists typically will do a physical evaluation to assess an athlete’s range of motion, strength, flexibility, and level of pain. It’s also possible that physical therapists will test you on some functional movements such as running, throwing, jumping, or squatting. 

Figure out the problem. Pinpointing the problem is one part of a diagnosis. Another part of this process is digging deeper to discover the roots of the issue. Physical therapists will use information they’ve gathered along with the patient’s physical data in order to make a diagnosis. 

See the big picture. Before designing a treatment plan, some physical therapists may want to know what some of your athletic and health goals are in addition to healing from your injury. It is important to communicate and to go over your goals with your sports physical therapist during your first appointment. This helps with long-term planning and developing a plan that is tailored to you. Having a goal to return to your sport will be something you’ll want to share with your sports physical therapist. 

Set the plan. Your sports physical therapist should take time to develop a treatment plan that is customized for your health needs and athletic goals. While your routine may differ from appointment to appointment, it will likely include different exercises, warmups, manual therapies, and additional treatments such as heat and ice. 

Learn more. The best sports physical therapists will educate athletes about their injury or condition—informing them about function and form. They’ll also help give tips on how to manage their injury, pain, and overall condition. In appointments, they’ll model your physical therapy exercises so that you may start on your routine in a safe and effective way. 

Do your homework. It is likely that after a first visit to a sports physical therapist, you’ll have some work to do at home. Your home exercises will be for you to perform in between appointments. Doing your prescribed homework will help you to both make and maintain progress and ideally, reach your goals faster. 

Ask questions. It’ll be helpful to have a back-and-forth exchange with your therapist and to address any concerns or questions that you might have about your injury or your treatment. Getting clarification is key. 

Work with a team of experts. At ROI, we have a team of sports physical therapists with years of experience with athletes at the highest levels. ROI has so much to offer athletes who need sports physical therapy: 

  • Science-based techniques—Our treatment plans are based on scientific data, and they truly promote an effective healing process. 
  • A holistic approach—At ROI, we know not all athletes are the same, so no one gets the same treatment plan. Instead, we create a personalized program that prioritizes your health and your specific goals and needs. We focus on physical therapy and integrate nutrition, strength and conditioning, massage, and other therapies. 
  • State of the art technology—ROI’s gym and its equipment are updated, modern tools used to help you in your healing and achieve your goals.
  • Preop, post-op, and regular rehab—If you’re in need of surgery, our experts can work to prepare you for it. If you’ve just had an operation and need to recover, we can make a plan for your rehabilitation. If you’ve simply suffered an injury or condition that’s affecting your sports performance, we can help you take the proper steps to recover your strength and function. 
  • Many manual therapy services—ROI offers different manual therapies to help athletes recover. Some of these services include: soft tissue mobilization, instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, cupping, dry needling, and joint mobilization or manipulation. 

Connect with ROI: Learn more about all the great services that ROI offers for athletes by reaching out to us online. 

Share This