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  • Writer's pictureCarly Appler

What is Athletic Therapy? How does it differ from Physiotherapy?

Updated: Apr 25, 2023

What is Athletic Therapy?

Athletic Therapy Logo

Athletic Therapy is the prevention and care of injuries to your muscles, bones, and joints; also known as orthopaedics. Examples of some of these include: a muscle strain, a fractured or broken bone, or a ligament sprain or tear. Athletic Therapists can also provide treatment and rehabilitation after an orthopaedic surgery, work injury, or motor vehicle accident.

What is the difference between Athletic Therapy and Physiotherapy?

The main difference between Athletic Therapy and Physiotherapy is the scope of practice. Athletic Therapists study orthopaedics for 4 years. Physiotherapists study orthopaedics, respiratory therapy, and cardiac therapy, which is why Physiotherapists work in hospital settings; they have the training to work with stroke patients or patients recovering from a respiratory illness.

Assessment of the Shoulder

Athletic Therapists can work in a sport or professional sport setting with athletes, or in a private clinical setting. In a sport setting, Athletic Therapists provide on field emergency care, sideline assessment of injuries, and prophylactic taping.

Which one should you choose?

It’s a personal choice which profession you choose to see. When you’re going into a private setting for therapy and injury rehabilitation, you’re going to get similar treatment, for an orthopaedic injury. Either one you choose, all therapists treat in multiple different ways.

Athletic Therapists and Physiotherapists both offer manual therapy, therapeutic modalities, and exercise prescription for orthopaedic injuries. The type of treatment you receive will depend on the individual therapist and what is appropriate for you based on your personal goals and your condition.

Does insurance cover Athletic Therapy?

Because it is a separate profession from Physiotherapy, and insurance coverage varies for each individual/plan, you will need to inquire with your insurance company if your plan covers Athletic Therapy. That may or may not guide your decision. You may need to acquire a prescription in order to be covered for either type of therapy.

As an Athletic Therapist, how do I practice?

After the initial assessment, based on your goals, we will come up with a plan for you. With my clients, I use a combination of therapeutic modalities, manual therapy, and exercise prescription. The exercise prescription includes range of motion and strength. Strength includes balance as well.

Instructing an Exercise

Making sure the plan works for you as an individual is also important. You will have the opportunity to include exercises and strategies that already work for you, and incorporate additional ones that I provide.

If you have more questions for me, you can fill out the contact page for more information.

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