Physical Therapy, Diagnostics

Physical Therapy Innovations Are Reshaping the PT Industry

What cutting-edge technologies are physical therapists using to improve their practices? It’s a question that all PTs should ask themselves, at least every once in a while. After all, physical therapy is always evolving. No PT or any medical professional would ever brag that they’re practicing medicine the way it was done back in 1955. Even as good as physical therapy may have been in 2010, no rational patient would be excited about visiting a PT if they were told that the practice hadn’t made any improvements in their exercises and techniques in the last decade.

So with that in mind, here are several of the most important PT innovations that have been transforming the industry.

Musculoskeletal Sonography.

In a nutshell, this is ultrasound imaging technology that uses sound waves to create pictures of muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves and joints throughout the body. You can see inside the body in real time and diagnose sprains, strains, tears, trapped nerves, arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions.

It’s safe and noninvasive, and not to pat ourselves on our backs, but nobody does musculoskeletal sonography as effectively as Hands-on Diagnostics.


But, please, feel free to call it VNG for short. Videonystagmography is more than an excellent word for the final round of a spelling bee. It’s a test that measures involuntary eye movement, and it can be a godsend for patients who have a certain type of involuntary eye movement called nystagmus. As you would imagine, if your eyes are darting up and down or side to side, you can soon become quite dizzy.

The VNG test has been wonderful for people who have nystagmus. Patients who have it can be quickly diagnosed – and then treated.

Nerve Conduction Studies.

These tests measure how fast electrical impulses move through a patient’s nerve. In other words, an NCV can help diagnose nerve damage. Like many of these innovations on this list, this isn’t new – it isn’t as if was developed yesterday – but NCVs are improving and evolving and getting better every year.

Evoked potential test.

This is a type of test that records electrical activity from the brain, spinal nerves or sensory receptors after receiving certain types of external stimulation.

If you wind up taking one of these tests, you’ll have electrodes applied to your scalp and other parts of the body, and when stimuli are offered, a computer will record your neurological responses. (It may not sound fun for a patient, but it beats being prodded with needles.) Later, our PTS will interpret all of the data that you’ve provided during the EP (evoked potential) test.

It’s a simple, noninvasive, highly innovative test that allows PTs to diagnose a number of different neurological problems.

Electromyography tests.

Electromyography (EMG) tests measure muscle response or electrical activity after a muscle’s nerve is stimulated. The test, which uses electrodes, can help detect neuromuscular issues. Patients can be diagnosed with all sorts of ailments using the EMG tests, from carpal tunnel syndrome to sciatica to ALS, often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Smartphones and apps.

This one isn’t surprising to anyone, given that smartphones and apps are everywhere and transforming everything. Still, you can’t overlook the fact that many apps can help patients with home exercise programs and offer ways to help with one’s health. Some apps offer orthopedic diagnosis tools and offer 360-degree visual anatomy. Apps help patients stay on track with their exercises, which means that they see more results and keep coming back to physical therapists for help.

Telehealth visits, meanwhile, have become a big thing during the pandemic, where patients can sit on their sofa at home and talk to a PT on their phone or laptop. While at first that may have seemed daunting and discouraging, it seems likely that telehealth visits will stick around long after the virus has gone.

Obviously, it’s wonderful when patients can visit in person with PTs, but there are times, for some patients, when it can be very beneficial for them to stay put in their own home. And the easier a PT can make it for a patient to get in a visit, the more likely they’ll stick with their regimen.

So as far as we’re concerned, it’s never been a better time to be a physical therapist, and if you’re looking to transform your PT practice, we think you’d do well to consider becoming a Hands-On Physical Therapy practice. We’re all about finding the greatest and latest methods for improving physical therapy. There’s never going to be a moment as a HODs PT practice where you’ll ever feel like you’re behind the technological or innovation curve. Additionally, we use our proven methods to show you how to increase profits at your physical therapy business.