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Annual Physical Therapy Exams Can Prevent Problems And Improve Overall Health

By: The Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association and edited by Victoria Rainville, PT, DPT

Annual physical therapy exams aren't as common as a yearly physical or a regular checkup with the dentist. However, research shows that moving well is important, so an annual check to find small changes in strength, balance, coordination, or range of motion makes sense.

An annual PT exam is quick and easy. It usually includes a history of your injuries, a complete health history, and a review of your movement goals - do you want to run a marathon or just get up and down from the floor easier when you play with your grandkids? Your physical therapist will then assess your strength, balance, coordination, flexibility, and more. What happens next depends on the results of the exam. You may be good to go for another year, get a few updates to your exercise program, have a short course of physical therapy, or receive a referral to another medical provider if necessary.

There is strong evidence suggesting that movement is a valuable predictor of future health and resilience against disease. Moving well can keep you healthier and help you live longer. There are a few simple tests that show the power of movement when it comes to predicting future health:

Gait speed: Studies have shown that if your typical walking speed is over 1 m/s or 3.3 ft/s, you're likely able to complete typical daily activities independently. You're also less likely to be hospitalized and less likely to have a fall.

Floor Transfer: Another series of studies suggest that if you can go from standing to sitting on the floor and back to standing without using your hands, you're a lot less likely to experience a quick decline in health status compared to someone who can't complete this test.

Multiple studies show that moving well and often is incredibly important to your overall health. It's also important for your quality of life. Moving well impacts your quality of life both now and later, so having a regular PT check-up to find problems early is one of the best things you can do for yourself this year.

To schedule your Annual PT Wellness Exam, call us today at 770-998-6636 or click this link


Vickie Rainville has been practicing physical therapy since 2000 with a Master’s Degree in Physical Therapy from Sacred Heart University then received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy in 2010, also from Sacred Heart. Vickie also holds a Bachelor's degree in Athletic Training from Springfield College. Vickie's practice blends a unique combination of skills developed through her experiences as a physical therapist and an athletic trainer. In addition to practicing in outpatient, skilled nursing, and home health settings, she also brings many years of field and clinic experience in high school and collegiate athletics. Her clinical strengths include manual therapy, orthopedics, sports medicine, geriatrics, neurological care, women’s health, and post-breast cancer rehabilitation.



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