The hard work and consistent efforts of school-based physical therapists (PTs) are nothing less than heroic. Often called upon to serve district-wide and on a variety of fronts, those with PT jobs make a significant impact on the lives of students. Day to day, progress happens in slow increments, but in a big-picture sense, cumulative gains contribute to improved education, future employment potential and the opportunity to live independently.
As a member of the school-based physical therapy profession, you begin each day ready to act as cheerleader, advocate and liaison. There’s no shame seeking assistance dividing time between your students, IEP/504 meetings, parent conferences and paperwork. Good thing there are physical therapy apps for that!
- Physical Therapy for Kids
This is a must-have for any physical therapist working with elementary and middle school aged children. Lovingly created by a PT, this physical therapy app is an excellent aid for young students who qualify for physical therapy in school. It includes 56 exercises specifically developed for children ages three to 12. The exercises are presented via hand-drawn illustrations and animations with accompanying narration and text. It is available for iPhone and iPad for just $6.99.
- PT Timer: Stretch & Exercise
With this app, you can share exercises with your students/parents via email, Facebook, or Twitter – or, by pasting codes into text messages. This app will also inform the patient of what exercises are due by showing a red badge. Plus, it keeps time, counts repetitions and sets, and tracks progress. As students become more familiar with their “homework activities” they can simply listen to music and let the app provide verbal cues. PT Timer is available for iPhone and iPad for just $2.99.
Wellpepper is another fast and easy way for a school-based physical therapist to assign “homework.” Communicate with students/parents via text messages and other electronic methods with home exercise prescriptions that include custom video, photos, and instructions, plus at-a-glance feedback and results. Parents/students can also receive reminders, share results and communicate with you via the app. Wellpepper is free and compatible only with iPad, requiring iOS 8.1 or later.
- PT Pal Pro
Another great option for physical therapists to encourage consistent exercise, this physical therapist app offers an easy way for you to ensure your students are practicing at home — and doing a good job of it. Send recommended exercise lists directly to student and parent phones, and they’ll be able to see precisely what you recommend for flexibility, strength, and stability, with both illustrated and video instructions. The app includes exercise reminders, and counts the repetitions out loud. It This physical therapist app also monitors student progress so you can review it even when students are not at school. PT Pal Pro is available for both iOS and Android and is free.
Simple, but effective. This physical therapist app appears on many physical therapist best-of lists, and for good reason. It’s one of the most convenient ways to measure a physical therapy patient’s range of motion for any joint. It’s extremely accurate and super-easy to use. Try it, and you’ll probably agree it’s the best $4.99 you’ll spend this year! Look for it in the iTunes App store.
- Stopwatch & Timer Pro Multiple Count Down/Up
When multiple students are working on different activities at the same time, Stopwatch & Timer can be a lifesaver! This free PT tool gives you the power to have five timers going simultaneously. The coolest part? You don’t have to worry about mixing them up because each timer can be uniquely labeled. Download this free app in the iTunes App store.
- Dragon Dictation
A great way to manage your ever-growing to-do list is Dragon Dictation. This free voice recognition app can be especially useful for those in physical therapist jobs, allowing you to dictate status updates, reminders, emails and texts in multiple languages. Dragon can be downloaded for free in the iTunes App store or on Google Play.
- Muscle Premium
If you’re looking to stay on top of your own education and boost your physical therapy job skills, check out Muscle Premium. This app features hundreds of animated models that show adduction, pronation, flexion, and much more — with the ability to interact with them in motion. Muscle Premium is also a great tool for answering your most pressing questions, like how to pronounce a ligament’s name or how a muscle is innervated. You’ll find detailed definitions for all structures, including origins and insertions, muscle actions, blood supply and more. Plus, there are audio pronunciations, Latin names and over 400 quiz questions to test your knowledge. This useful app for physical therapists is available for iPhone and iPad for $19.99.
- CMV: Slow Frame-Frame Video Analysis
This excellent app gives physical therapists the ability to instantly review and analyze videos. Even better, you can calculate the angles between lines, in order to more easily see room for improvement. School-based physical therapists may find it useful when setting IEP goals and/or measuring student progress. The app includes features for note-taking, diagram-drawing and slow-motion playback in forward, reverse or frame-by-frame. CMV is available for free on iPhone or iPad.
With so much technology out there, we hope this list helps you find the right mix of physical therapy tools to better serve your students in physical therapy, and stay motivated for the challenges you face each day!
Have you used any of the above apps? If not, what physical therapy app has worked for you? Please share in the comments below!
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