If you’ve been prescribed physical therapy after an injury or to help with mobility issues, you may have lots of questions. But, in all those thoughts, has what to wear for physical therapy crossed your mind? You may not have given much thought to the matter, but wearing the clothing can have a huge impact on the comfortability of your physical therapy treatment.
Before your first physical therapy session, take some time to plan your attire accordingly. If you’re heading to the office right after work, make sure to pack a change of clothes. You want sure that you’re wearing exactly what you need to get the most out of your session.
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What should I wear to my first physical therapy appointment?
Ideally, the types of clothing you choose for therapy will depend on your injury or specific treatment. For the first time, you’ll want to make sure that your therapist can get a good view of the body part that you’re focusing on for treatment.
For upper body injuries or low back pain, make sure the therapist has direct access to those areas. The same rule applies to lower body treatments like knee pain or calf muscle injuries.
Listed below are some great options to wear for your physical therapy visits:
- loose-fitting pants
- tank tops (great idea if you have a shoulder injury)
- yoga pants (unless you have a knee injury)
- tennis shoes
- training pants
- t-shirts or other loose-fitting shirt
- athletic shorts
- proper undergarments (i.e. sports bra)
What are some tips for choosing the right clothing for the physical therapy clinic?
When it comes to physical therapy, what you wear can have a big impact on your comfort and ability to move effectively. Very Well Mind states the importance of considering your upper body, lower body, and your feet and ankles as you’re picking out your clothing. You also want to ensure that your outfit allows for a full range of motion and access to the treatment area since you’ll likely be doing various exercises during your treatment.
Here are some tips for choosing the proper clothing for your physical therapy sessions to make things easier for you and the physical therapist:
Comfortable, flexible clothing is key.
Physical therapy often involves a lot of movement, stretching, and exercise. It’s important to wear comfortable clothing that allows you to move freely and comfortably. It’s a good idea to look for clothing made from breathable, stretchy materials like cotton, spandex, or other performance fabrics. (Don’t forget to ensure that your clothing allows for easy access to the injured body part.)
Avoid clothing that restricts movement.
Tight clothing or clothing with a lot of buttons or zippers can restrict your range of motion and make it more difficult to perform certain exercises. Stick to loose-fitting clothing that allows for freedom of movement.
Choose supportive footwear.
Proper footwear is just as important as your clothing when it comes to physical therapy. Choose shoes that provide good support and stability, and that are comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. Stay away from dress shoes for this appointment (you don’t want to risk an ankle injury). Athletic shoes are a good choice, as they are designed to provide support and cushioning. They also have a good grip, which can help avoid falling or injury.
Dress in layers.
Physical therapy sessions can be intense and may cause you to sweat. Dressing in layers allows you to easily remove clothing if you get too warm. Choose breathable layers like lightweight jackets or sweatshirts that you can remove as needed.
Avoid jewelry or accessories that may get in the way.
Jewelry like bracelets, watches, or necklaces can get in the way during physical therapy exercises and may even cause injury. Remove any jewelry or accessories before your session to avoid any potential issues. Additionally, if you have long hair, you might want to pull it into a ponytail with a hair tie. Or, choose some other style that will keep it out of the way during your treatment.
Consider the weather.
If you’re attending physical therapy sessions outdoors, you’ll need to dress appropriately for the weather. In cold weather, wear warm layers and a hat to keep your head and ears warm. In hot weather, wear light-colored, breathable clothing to stay cool and comfortable.
Choose clothing that makes you feel confident.
Physical therapy can be challenging, and wearing clothing that makes you feel confident and comfortable can help you stay motivated and focused. Choose clothing that makes you feel good about yourself and that you enjoy wearing.
By following these tips, you can choose the right clothing for your physical therapy sessions and ensure that you’re comfortable, supported, and able to move freely. Remember, physical therapy is all about helping you reach your goals, so don’t be afraid to ask your therapist for additional advice or recommendations.