Did You Know? 8 Fun Facts about Physical Therapy

Heather M. Kidder PT, DPT

You might know that physical therapy, also called “PT”, can help you recover from injury. But did you know that it can also help you manage specific conditions, restore function, encourage movement, and reduce or eliminate the need for medications and surgeries? Because it touches so many areas of healthcare and medicine, we sometimes get questions about what PT is and how physical therapists work within orthopedics.  Here are 8 fun facts about physical therapy:

  1. Physical therapy began in response to WWI, where the army utilized ‘reconstruction aids’ who were nurses responsible for providing rehab to wounded soldiers through physical and occupational therapy.
  2. Physical therapy started as a female-only profession. In 1921 the first professional physical therapy association was known as the American Women’s Physical Therapeutic Association and contained 273 members with the first president being Mary McMillan. In 1922 the name changed to the American Physiotherapy Association, and men were then allowed to join the profession. Currently, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) is the physical therapy professional association with over 95,000 professionals represented in the U.S.
  3. All practicing physical therapists and physical therapy assistants are required to not only graduate from an accredited program, but all providers must pass a national licensure exam to be certified as a treating physical therapist.
  4. The education for a physical therapist consists of obtaining a bachelor degree, and then complete three additional years to earn a doctorate in physical therapy (DPT).
  5. The education for a physical therapist assistant consists of obtaining a two-year associate degree from an accredited program.
  6. Physical therapists provide rehabilitative services in many areas. You can find them in outpatient clinics (like OrthoCarolina) as well as hospitals, school systems, home healthcare agencies, skilled nursing facilities, military bases, fitness centers, and professional or collegiate sports teams.
  7. Physical therapy ranks among the Top 10 Happiest Jobs according to Forbes.
  8. Therapists can further their training and obtain certifications in many areas of clinical expertise. Some areas of specialization are Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Physical Therapy, Geriatric PT, Neurologic PT, Orthopedic PT, Pediatric PT, Sports PT, Women’s Health PT, and Oncologic PT.


Heather M. Kidder PT, DPT is the Physical Therapy Manager for OrthoCarolina Rock Hill.





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