What Should You Wear To Physical Therapy? Tips from Experts

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Physical therapy is an essential part of healing and recovery from injuries or surgeries. It’s important to dress appropriately during these sessions as it can affect the effectiveness of the treatment, your comfort, and prevent further injury.

Choosing what to wear to physical therapy can be confusing for some people. Do you need to wear workout clothes? Can you wear regular street clothes? What about footwear?

To help ease your confusion, we’ve gathered tips from experts on what to wear to physical therapy. These tips will ensure that you’re dressed comfortably and appropriately for your therapy sessions.

“Wearing comfortable clothing allows patients to move freely and participate in exercises without limitations,” says Dr. Sean McMillan, a licensed physical therapist.

So whether you’re attending physical therapy for chronic pain management, post-surgery rehabilitation, or simply looking to boost your overall health and wellness, read on for expert advice on what to wear to your next physical therapy session!

Comfortable Clothing is Key

Physical therapy sessions can be intimidating, especially if it’s your first time. One thing that you don’t need to worry about during these appointments is what to wear. Physical therapists recommend wearing comfortable clothing that allows free movement of joints and muscles.

Choose Loose-Fitting Clothes

Wearing tight clothes can restrict your range of motion during physical therapy. Opt for loose-fitting clothes instead like tracksuits or yoga pants which allow you to stretch freely. Loose-fitting tops like t-shirts or tank tops are also an excellent choice as they won’t compress your chest or arms. These types of clothes keep you relaxed throughout the session rather than feeling constricted by tight outfits.

Opt for Breathable Fabrics

When choosing clothes for physical therapy, it’s important to consider fabrics that promote breathability. 100% cotton clothing is great as it’s a breathable fabric that absorbs moisture easily and evaporates quickly, keeping you dry and fresh during an intensive workout session. Other good options include synthetic athletic wear materials such as polyester, which wicks away sweat from your body, and nylon, because it is breathable and lightweight. Avoid heavy fabrics like denim- these will make you feel hot and weighed down quickly.

“Breathable fabrics like cotton are beneficial when participating in any form of exercise, including physical therapy.” – Dr. Steven Stutz, Orthopedic Specialist.

Comfort should be your top priority when dressing up for physical therapy. You want to wear clothes that allow normal flexibility, aren’t too restrictive, and promote ventilation. Wearing comfortable clothes will ensure you get the most benefit from your physical therapy session and maintain flexibility after being released.

Avoid Wearing Jewelry

When attending physical therapy, it is essential to avoid wearing jewelry. This includes necklaces, bracelets, watches, and rings. Why? Because depending on the type of therapy you are undergoing, these accessories can cause damage or get in the way.

The last thing you want is for your bracelet to snag onto a weight machine or have your ring scratch the table during treatment. More importantly, some types of physical therapy require that you move various body parts extensively; this could result in injuries if you’re wearing loose accessories.

Additionally, many professionals recommend ditching all types of earrings when receiving physiotherapy around the head and neck area.

“It’s always best to remove jewellery before undergoing most types of physical therapy procedures, especially hand therapy, where anything on your wrist could interfere with the healing process,” -Laurie Udesky, Blogger

Remove All Piercings

If you have piercings in any part of your body, it’s better to take them off before attending your physical therapy sessions. It doesn’t matter whether they’re new or old; the risk of infections exists, so it’s advisable to eliminate anything that might increase the possibility of infection.

Furthermore, if you’ve only recently got piercing done, there’s also the chance that they may not have healed fully. The therapist will undoubtedly touch, massage, and move different body areas, which can harmfully impact your wound areas, causing delays in healing.

“The risks associated with having an open freshwater or saltwater piercing are higher than those associated with sterile environments such as swimming pools… When you’re allowing someone else to work on your injured tissue, it’s essential to keep everything clean and free from irritants,” -Jessica Jones, Author

Avoid Wearing Necklaces

Necklaces and other adornments worn in the neck area can cause difficulties when undergoing physical therapy exercises. Movements such as rotating or bending your head might result in necklaces getting tangled, leading to injury, discomfort or prolonging therapeutic healing.

You also wouldn’t want a necklace hitting you in the face while lying on your back receiving therapy. The therapist has enough to worry about without having to watch out for accessories flying around during treatment sessions.

“You don’t want the jewellery to obstruct the targeted area that is being treated, so best practice is to opt for minimalist pieces or none at all,” -Felda Chayet-Aghdam, Physiotherapist

Avoid Wearing Bracelets or Watches

Bracelets or watches may interfere with wrist movements necessary for particular rehabilitation therapies. They could dig into the skin and cut off circulation needed for tendon recovery processes or apply unwanted pressure. This will undoubtedly hinder patients’ ability to receive proper treatment of their injured wrist/arm joint.

In some instances, therapists would take measurements of specific areas. For example, they will measure wrist circumference before starting some hand physiotherapy sessions. As such, wearing bracelets or watches will make it difficult to obtain the critical measurements that determine what level of care is required.

“Bracelets are not usually too much of an issue; however, if we’re treating a wrist or hand injury, then sometimes certain types of jewelry can get in the way or cause extra stress to the tissue,” -Marina Ferguson DPT, Physical Therapist

Avoid Wearing Rings

Wearing rings might seem like harmless fashion accessory until you have them on during physical therapy. Whether engagement rings, wedding rings, or any other type of ring, it is best to leave them at home or store them away safely before attending therapy.

If you are undergoing physiotherapy for a hand injury, having rings on could worsen your particular joint’s condition. It might be difficult, painful or almost impossible to move the finger well enough because of the obstruction created by the ring; not only that, but getting the ring off can also trigger further distress and damage.

“Wearing of jewelry has caused hand injuries in occupational settings… A safety rule/guideline must include removing jewelry and should accommodate its timely removal,” -Mercedes Pabellon-Tagle OTR/L, CEAS, Occupational Therapist

Going to physical therapy without ignoring these little details such as wearing jewelry, piercings, necklaces, bracelets, watches, or rings make all the difference when receiving proper treatment from experts. Without a doubt, pay attention to these tips, do yourself and your therapist a favour, and save time while recovering properly.

Wear Proper Footwear

Choose Sneakers or Athletic Shoes

When attending physical therapy, it is important to wear the appropriate footwear. The ideal type of shoes for physical therapy sessions are athletic shoes or sneakers.

Athletic shoes have excellent arch support and provide stability which helps with balance exercises during physical therapy. They also have shock-absorbing soles that can better cushion the impact on one’s feet when they land on uneven surfaces.

Ensure Proper Fit and Comfort

The next essential thing to consider after choosing athletic shoes or sneakers is their proper fit. Wearing shoes that are too small, too loose, or pinch your toes cause discomfort and even injury.

To ensure you buy fitting shoes, measure your foot in advance and compare with the manufacturer’s sizing guide. When trying out a new pair of shoes, wear socks similar to those you will be using during physical therapy sessions. Walk around the store in the shoes before purchasing them to check whether they’re comfortable and well-fitting.

“Correctly fitting shoes help prevent blisters, calluses, and corns; they may also alleviate low back pain and knee issues.” -American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Ill-fitted shoes can have long lasting effects such as shin splints, plantar fasciitis (painful inflammation of connective tissue at the bottom of the foot), stress fractures, and other injuries.

Consider the Type of Therapy

Physical therapy is an excellent way to improve your physical health, whether you’re recovering from an injury or trying to manage a chronic condition. However, many people wonder what type of clothes they should wear for their appointments.

In general, it’s best to wear comfortable, non-restrictive clothing that allows you to move freely. But depending on the specific type of therapy you’ll be doing, there may be additional factors to consider.

Wear Comfortable Clothes for Yoga or Pilates

If your physical therapy includes yoga or Pilates classes, you should prioritize comfort and flexibility when choosing your outfit. This might mean wearing loose-fitting pants or leggings and a breathable shirt made from materials like cotton or spandex. You don’t want anything constricting, as this can restrict your movement and make it difficult to perform certain poses or stretches.

It’s also worth considering the temperature in the room where you’ll be practicing. If it’s likely to be warm, opt for lightweight, moisture-wicking fabrics that will help keep you cool and dry. And if you tend to get cold easily, you might want to bring along a light jacket or sweater that you can layer over your workout clothes.

Wear Athletic Clothes for Physical Therapy or Rehabilitation

If your physical therapy sessions are focused on rehabilitation exercises, you may need to wear more structured athletic gear. This could include compression shorts or sleeves, which help support muscles and joints during exercise. You might also want to wear sneakers with good arch support to prevent injuries.

Your goal should be to choose an outfit that allows you to perform your therapy exercises effectively while keeping you comfortable and safe. Don’t forget to communicate with your therapist if you have any concerns or particular needs, such as braces or other supports.

Remember that physical therapy is all about building strength, flexibility, and mobility. Wearing the right clothes can help set you up for success and maximize your progress towards these goals.

“Physical fitness can neither be achieved by wishful thinking nor outright purchase.” -Joseph Pilates

Your personal comfort level is the most important thing when it comes to choosing what to wear during your appointments. If you feel confident and supported in your outfit, you’re more likely to show up with a positive attitude and achieve great results!

Don’t Forget to Bring a Change of Clothes

If you are planning on going to physical therapy, it is important to remember to bring a change of clothes. This will ensure that you can continue with your day without worrying about being uncomfortable or smelling bad after the session.

The type of clothing you wear should depend on the type of physical therapy you will be receiving. For example, if you will be doing exercises such as stretches or yoga, it is recommended that you wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing that allows for easy movement. If you will be doing more strenuous activities that involve sweating, like weightlifting, it may be best to opt for moisture-wicking fabric to keep cool and dry.

“It’s important to choose clothes that fit well, aren’t too tight, and allow for full range of motion during exercise,” says Dr. Tiffany Lester, medical director at Parsley Health. -Business Insider

You may also want to consider bringing multiple sets of clothes in case your first set becomes sweaty or dirty during your physical therapy sessions.

Bring a Fresh Set of Clothes for After the Session

In addition to bringing a change of clothes for your physical therapy session, it is also important to pack a fresh set of clothes for after your session. Even if you don’t sweat heavily during your session, it is still important to have a clean set of clothes to change into before returning home or heading off to work.

When choosing what to wear after your session, think about comfort, breathability, and functionality. Avoid tight clothing that restricts movement, as this could cause further discomfort or strain on sore muscles. Opt for breathable fabrics that allow airflow, and consider wearing compression garments to reduce swelling or inflammation.

“Loose, comfy clothing works best post-workout,” advises Dr. Nicole Lombardo, an orthopedic surgeon at Hoag Orthopedic Institute. -Shape

If you have any questions about what to wear after your physical therapy session, don’t hesitate to ask your therapist for advice.

Bring a Towel or Shower Kit if Necessary

Depending on the type of physical therapy you will be receiving, you may need to pack a towel or shower kit as well. If your sessions involve sweating heavily or getting wet in any way, it is important to bring a clean towel and soap or body wash.

Even if your physical therapy sessions are not particularly strenuous, you may still want to consider bringing along a small towel to wipe away sweat or moisture during breaks or when transitioning between exercises.

“It’s always a good idea to bring a towel so you can pat down sweat from working out,” says Ashley Pitt, a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor. -Fitness Magazine

Consider the Location and Weather for Proper Attire

When planning what to wear to physical therapy, it’s essential to consider the location and weather where your sessions will take place. For example, if you will be doing your physical therapy outdoors, make sure to dress appropriately for the climate. Hot weather may call for shorts, tank tops, and hats to keep cool, while colder temperatures may require layers and gloves to stay warm.

In addition to considering the weather, think about the environment where your physical therapy sessions will take place. If you will be using gym equipment or mats that other people have used, it may be wise to wear clothes that cover as much skin as possible to avoid exposure to germs or bacteria.

“Clothing should also protect against microbial infiltration, which is more common with extended wear of tight fitting, moisture-wicking workout attire,” advises Dr. Will Fuller, director of orthopedic surgery at JFK Medical Center. -CBS News

If you are unsure about what to wear for your physical therapy sessions or have any concerns, consult with your therapist for recommendations.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most appropriate footwear for physical therapy?

The most appropriate footwear for physical therapy are sneakers with good arch support, cushioning, and a wide toe box. Avoid shoes with high heels, open toes, or flat soles. Sneakers provide stability and protect your feet from injuries during exercise.

Are there any clothing items to avoid wearing to physical therapy?

Avoid wearing tight or restrictive clothing that limits your range of motion. Clothing made of stiff or heavy fabrics can also restrict movement and make exercise uncomfortable. Tight accessories like bracelets or watches should also be avoided to prevent injuries from accidental catching on equipment.

What types of fabrics should you wear for maximum comfort during physical therapy?

Wear breathable fabrics like cotton or moisture-wicking materials that can keep you cool and dry during physical therapy sessions. These fabrics allow your skin to breathe, preventing skin irritation and discomfort. Avoid heavy or synthetic fabrics that can trap sweat, heat, and bacteria, increasing the risk of skin infections.

Is it necessary to wear athletic clothing to physical therapy?

Athletic clothing is not necessary but recommended for physical therapy sessions. Athletic clothing is designed to be stretchy, breathable, and comfortable, allowing for ease of movement during exercise. However, if you do not have athletic clothing, wear loose-fitting clothes that allow a full range of motion.

What accessories should you avoid wearing during physical therapy sessions?

Avoid wearing accessories that can get in the way or cause injuries during physical therapy sessions. This includes earrings, necklaces, and rings that can get caught on equipment, causing injuries. Avoid wearing hats or headbands that can obstruct your vision or hearing, making it difficult to communicate with your therapist.

What are some clothing items that can help prevent injuries during physical therapy?

Wearing clothes that fit well and provide adequate support can help prevent injuries during physical therapy. Compression sleeves or braces can provide extra support for joints while also improving blood circulation. Shoes with good arch support and cushioning can help prevent foot and ankle injuries during exercise.

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