1. Health
Send to a Friend via Email

By Injury


The musculoskeletal system is formed through the connection of bones, ligaments, cartilage, muscle, and tendons. Each of these structures, however, is susceptible to injury or diseases. Physical therapists use a wide variety of treatments to manage these problems. Here you will learn more about the common medical conditions that are treated by physical therapists, as well as rehabilitation techniques specific to each disorder.
  1. Back Disorders
  2. Shoulder Disorders
  3. Elbow Disorders
  4. Wrist & Hand Disorders
  5. Hip Disorders
  1. Knee Disorders
  2. Ankle & Foot Disorders
  3. Women's Health
  4. Children
  5. Older Adults

Back Disorders

The back is involved in almost every movement that we make. With so many vulnerable structures, it is easy to see how common back ailments can be. Statistically, four out of five adults experience symptoms of back pain at least once in their lifetime. The good news is that most back disorders can be prevented by incorporating exercise and proper body mechanics into your daily routine.

Shoulder Disorders

The shoulder joint is capable of a wider and more varied range of motion than any other joint in the human body. This flexibility comes with a price -- the shoulder joint also is more unstable than the other joints in the body. Dislocation and separation injuries and repetitive motions are common, too.

Elbow Disorders

The elbow joint is formed by three bones: the humerus, radius, and ulna. It is an example of a hinge joint, or a joint that moves in only one direction. Elbow injuries can occur in most sports, especially those involving throwing or swinging motions. Sprains, strains, fractures, dislocations, and bursitis are common causes of elbow pain.

Wrist & Hand Disorders

The wrist and hand are small yet complex joints. Because they are used so much in sports, the risk of injury is high. Also, as we age, the joints of our wrists and fingers are often affected by arthritis.

Hip Disorders

The hip is a ball-and-socket joint. The hip is a sturdy joint surrounded by the strong muscles of the thighs and buttocks. Though not as common as in other areas of the body, injuries can occur, usually from wear and tear and overuse injuries. Life-threatening fractures of the hip joint can also occur in the elderly due to bone weakness from osteoporosis.

Knee Disorders

Most people are surprised to learn that the knee is the largest joint in the body. Unfortunately, it is also more susceptible to injury than any other joint. Most knee injuries occur during athletic activities. Arthritis also commonly affects the bones of the knee joint as we age.

Ankle & Foot Disorders

As shock absorbers, our feet cushion up to one million pounds of pressure during one hour of strenuous exercise. They also bear up to 1.5 times your bodyweight during walking and running activities. Each foot has 26 bones. The ankle bone and the ends of the two lower leg bones form the ankle joint, which is stabilized and supported by three groups of ligaments. These structures are at increased risk of injury during activities that require jumping as well as excessive running.

Women's Health

Although many health conditions affect both men and women, a number of health issues are specific to females, and some are far more prevalent in women, such as osteoporosis.


Pediatric physical therapy assists in early detection of health problems and uses a wide variety of modalities to treat disorders in kids. Treatments focus on improving gross and fine motor skills, balance and coordination, strength and endurance, as well as cognitive and sensory processing/integration.

Older Adults

As we age, we are more susceptible to certain conditions and disorders that would normally not affect younger people. Our balance becomes more unsteady and therefore the risk of falls increases. Bone weakness also places the elderly at greater risk for broken bones, or fractures. Maintaining an active lifestyle as we age can help reduce disorders associated with aging.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.