Smartphone and tablet apps can help physical therapists and patients learn more about their diagnosis and track their progress. They can also show users how to perform exercises with precision and accuracy for quicker and more substantial results.
Although effective, some apps range from $70-$300, making them outside budget constraints, especially since new apps are developed daily. The good news is there are plenty of quality, free apps that aid PT practices. And we’ve put together 10 great ones below in no particular order.
1.) iOrtho+ is your mobile guide for orthopedic information. This App is designed for rehabilitation professionals, educators and clinicians by Therapeutic Articulations, LLC. iOrtho+ is a mobile and comprehensive reference for orthopedic Special Tests and joint Mobilization Techniques developed from advanced, evidence-based knowledge and extensive clinical practice.
2.) TiltMeter, an advanced Level and Inclinometer, is a professional grade angle measurement tool that can be used to measure the angle of extension/flexion performed in exercises.
3.) Shoulder Decide/ Knee Decide/ Spinal Decide is a multisensory learning tool, which empowers healthcare specialists to teach their patients more quickly, efficiently and effectively. The app includes interactive 3D animations that permit you to explore and explain anatomy like never before.
4.) The Physical Therapy Spanish Guide (PTSG) is a tool designed for non-Spanish speaking health care professionals to quickly ascertain vital medical information from their Spanish speaking patients.
5.) Clinical Pattern Recognition is a simple to use, guideline based orthopedic rehabilitation app developed to help students and clinicians hone their clinical reasoning skills regarding examination, differential diagnosis, movement faults, treatments and exercises for low back pain. It involves evidence based pain pattern recognition, hypothesis generator, guideline based classification, patient videos, manual therapy, movement analysis, exercises, special testing and patient education.
6.) Once Rehab Minder Therapy Assistant is installed, it takes the hand therapist about 30 seconds to set up a patient with Tendon Gliding Exercises.
Customizing an exercise program is quick. Create an injury profile by selecting a body part (e.g. Middle Finger, Elbow) and a brief description of the injury (e.g. Fracture, Flexor Tendon Repair). This generates a ‘short list’ of exercises that can be viewed and added to the program. The menu that follows allows the user to add exercises from the entire database, categorized as ‘Non-exercise Therapy, Passive, Assisted, Active and Resisted.’ The therapist can key in any additional instructions from the second menu also with two ‘Write Note’ functions.
7.) FORCE Mobile intelligently recommends rehab exercises and creates custom playlists from a library of hundreds of professionally produced exercise videos. These videos and instructional voice overs are used by physical therapists around the country to treat and prevent injury.
8.) NPTE by McGraw Hill combines the best in class content from McGraw Hill with award winning mobile learning technology from Watermelon Express to present the best in class NPTE prep tool on iPhone and iPad.
9.) Physical Therapy Case Files, a new app in the authoritative Case Files® series, gives you case studies that illustrate critical concepts you need to build and enhance your skills in physical therapy. Each title focuses on a specific specialty area of physical therapy and each case includes a discussion of the health condition, examination, evaluation, diagnosis, plan of care and interventions, evidence-based practice recommendations and references. NPTE-style review questions accompanying each case reinforce your learning. With Physical Therapy Case Files, everything you need to succeed in the clinic and on the NPTE is right here in your hands.
10.) PT Timer Lite: Stretch & Exercise keeps time, counts reps and sets, and tracks your progress. Enter your own exercises and setup your entire workout. Clear verbal commands and chimes keep you going, while you can listen to music or focus on something else. If you are learning a new exercise, then put pictures and notes into this app, and watch them before you start the exercise.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed guidelines to oversee and regulate a small number of mobile apps—medical apps that could present a risk to patients if the software does not work as intended. Make sure you and your patient are aware of these risks before suggesting and downloading any app that could thwart progress.
This information is to better guide PT’s on what each free PT app can do for them. PTAG does not endorse any of the above apps or app providers.