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The Economic Value of Physical Therapy in The United States

By: Matt Jacobson PT, DPT, ATC 

Have you ever considered the economic benefits of physical therapy? The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) has a vision to “transform society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience” and we work toward this vision each day. We work to help you get back to living your life to its fullest while delivering cost-effective services. Over the past few years, we have endured a global pandemic and continued cuts to payment by insurance along with government cuts while also providing quality patient care. There have been multiple studies that have demonstrated the financial impacts of choosing physical therapy for your healthcare needs and we will be highlighting some of the specific findings below.

When looking at the cost savings of choosing physical therapy, we consider the specific cost of services, time spent attending visits/sessions, along with time taken to perform a home exercise program. A recent study found the following average net benefit which includes financial benefits along with quality of life improvements associated with PT services vs a typical medical approach:

·        Knee Arthritis: $13,981

·        Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: $39,533

·        Low Back Pain: $4,160

·        Pelvic Floor Dysfunction: $10,129

·        Tennis Elbow: $10,739

·        Falls Prevention: $2,144


As an illustration of the possible costs associated with these conditions, let’s look at an example for the costs associated with knee arthritis. A typical medical approach to knee arthritis may include the following: X-rays, MRI, steroid injections, and ultimately a knee surgery totaling approximately $20,000. With physical therapy, a lot of these costs can be avoided including the time spent for physical therapy and any out of pocket costs and would total approximately $6,000 with a savings of $14,000. While the financial aspect is important, the improvement in quality of life is most important.


There are recent findings from a study that included quality of life with “quality-adjusted life year” for which years with less than full health are assigned different values than healthy life years. When related to knee arthritis, there was found to be a significant improvement in quality-adjusted life years when compared to medical interventions including imaging and injections. When considering that our vision is to transform society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience, this data shows the objective improvements of your quality of life by choosing PT rather than traditional methods of imaging, injections, and surgery.


At A Step Ahead Physical Therapy, we take a personalized approach to PT treatment and design a program that will help you get back to living your life to the fullest. Schedule a visit with one of our PT’s by calling our clinic (770) 998-6636 or scheduling with this link.


Matt joined A Step Ahead Physical Therapy in 2022 and has been a physical therapist since graduating from Brenau University with his Doctorate of Physical Therapy in 2020. He enjoys using his background in Athletic Training and Sports Medicine when working with athletes and active adults.  Since becoming a PT, he has started to develop a niche working with the geriatric population, especially with Balance and Fall Prevention.




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