Physical therapists are movement experts. We evaluate people with movement dysfunction, and we provide treatment strategies to help people move better.
Over the past few years, technology has advanced to the point where computers and smartphones are ubiquitous fixtures in our day-to-day lives. Can these pieces of technology be used to help physical therapists evaluate and treat their patients? Of course.
When I went to physical therapy school, our first class in our first semester was Gross Human Anatomy. We were fortunate to be able to learn about the human body through dissection. Now, some schools are using technology to help their students learn anatomy. Computer programs that engage students in virtual human dissection are available.
Recently, I reviewed the iMuscle application and the Gaitometer application for iPhone. The iMuscle app is an exercise tool that helps the user learn new exercises for various muscle groups. The Gaitometer app provides users with real time feedback about gait and walking asymmetries. Both applications are an example of how smartphone technology can be used in the physical therapy profession.
While I am excited to use electronic mecdical records, iPads, and iPhones in physical therapy, I think the most important asset that a therapist has is the ability and the drive to help the patient in any way possible. Somtimes, good old fashioned exercise and hard work are still necessary to help patients feel better and improve mobility.