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10 at-home physical therapy exercises you can do on your own

10 at-home physical therapy exercises you can do on your own
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Physical therapy is most effective when performed under the supervision of a professional physical therapist. Whether you go to a physical PT office in your area or meet with a specialist online for virtual physical therapy, you’re likely to see the best results when you work with a pro. However, there are some physical therapy exercises you can do at home by yourself. In fact, most physical therapists ask patients to perform a few exercises at home between sessions. While we always recommend that you seek professional treatment over going it alone, these at-home physical therapy exercises may provide temporary relief for the pain you’re experiencing.

Foot and ankle physical therapy exercises

Here are a few physical therapy exercises you might do at home if your feet or ankles are hurting: 1. Wall calf stretches — Standing with your hands on a wall at eye level, slide one foot back, keeping your heel on the ground. Move the other foot forward and bend your knee. Rotate your back foot slightly and lean forward until you feel your calf start to stretch. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat three times for each leg. 2. Towel lifts — Sit in a chair and place a towel on the floor in front of you. Keeping your heel on the ground, use your toes to lift the towel 6 inches off the floor. Hold for five seconds, release the towel and repeat 10 to 20 times with each leg.

Knee physical therapy exercises

Here are some at-home physical therapy exercises that may help relieve knee pain: 3. Straight leg raises — Lying on your back on the floor, bend one knee so that your entire foot is on the floor. Flex your other knee, keeping it straight out, and lift it to the height of your bent knee. Hold until you feel it stretch and repeat 10 times for each leg. 4. Squats — Standing up straight with your feet slightly apart, slowly bend your knees and waist until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Keep your back at a right angle with the floor. Return to standing position. Repeat five to 10 times.

Hip physical therapy exercises

Here are some at-home exercises your physical therapist might assign you if you’re struggling with hip pain: 5. Hip circles — Rest on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders, your knees directly under your hips and your toes pointed outward. Flex your core muscles, lift one leg out to the side and move it in a circular motion. Repeat 10 to 20 times for each leg. 6. Donkey kicks — Rest of all fours as you did with hip circles. Extend one leg upward with the bottom of your foot facing the ceiling. Return to all fours and repeat on the other side. Repeat 10 to 20 times for each leg.

Shoulder physical therapy exercises

Here are some easy exercises that physical therapists use to treat patients’ shoulders: 7. Barrel hugs — Sit in a chair with your back straight and your arms out in front of you at shoulder height. Make a big circle with your arms (as if you’re hugging a barrel) and touch your fingertips together. Slowly bend to one side, allowing your shoulder blades to stretch. Repeat 20 times for each side. 8. Shoulder I-Y-T’s — Lie facedown on the floor with your limbs extended outward. Raising your shoulders off the floor, slowly move your limbs to make an I shape, then a Y shape, then a T shape. Hold each position for 10 seconds and repeat five times.

Elbow physical therapy exercises

Here are some simple elbow exercises you can do for physical therapy at home: 9. Wrist curls — Sit or stand with your arm flat on a surface, holding a small dumbbell (or another 1- to 5-pound object). Hang the hand holding the object off the table, and slowly lower your wrist toward the ground as far as you can extend it. Curl it back up to the starting position. Repeat 10 to 20 times on each arm. 10. Bicep curls — Sit in a chair with one arm rested on your thigh and a dumbbell or similar object in your other hand. Slowly lower the object until your arm is almost straight. Hold for five seconds and curl up. Repeat 10 to 20 times.

Visit a professional PT specialists to learn more physical therapy exercises

When you meet with a physical therapist, they’ll teach you stretches and exercises that can help you build strength and increase flexibility in any parts of your body that are experiencing pain. These stretches and exercises can be beneficial in helping you to recover from surgery or injuries. They can also help reduce chronic pain

Alliance PTP is ready to help you find top-notch physical therapy

At Alliance Physical Therapy Partners, we’re proudly bringing together physical therapy practices across the country to help people get the high-quality PT they need. We can put you in touch with an Alliance PTP partner that’s close to you. Not keen on in-person PT sessions or not close to an Alliance PTP partner? No worries. We also offer effective and affordable virtual physical therapy through our Agile Virtual Physical Therapy platform.  Contact our team today so we can help you find the most effective physical therapy services for your injury or condition.

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