What are physiotherapy specialists?

Although it is not possible for physiotherapists in Canada to specialize, it is common for physiotherapists to take continuing education courses to further develop their assessment and treatment skills. Here are some common areas in which physiotherapists can pursue postgraduate courses:

  • Orthopedic Physiotherapy –  This refers to the area of physiotherapy that deals with post-surgical patients, arthritis, tendonitis, fracture rehabilitation, muscle sprains and strains, neck and back pain, hip and knee problems, shoulder, elbow, and wrist conditions. Most orthopedic physiotherapists have taken extra training in Manual Therapy. This involves a hands-on approach to treatment using special techniques including joint mobilization and joint manipulation.
  • Sports Physiotherapy – Experts in assisting with recovery after injury and surgery. Physiotherapists are trained to help with retraining the athlete utilizing running, throwing, jumping, and sport-specific programs to name a few. There is a large overlap between sports physiotherapy and orthopedic physiotherapy.
  • Fitness and Wellness – Physiotherapists are well trained to help with your fitness needs and wellness programs. If you need an exercise program, have trouble with your weight, are concerned about osteoporosis, diabetes is an issue, or you would like to learn how to prevent falls, physical therapists can help. The previous examples are just a few of the many programs physical therapists offer.
  • Womens’ Health – Some therapists have taken continuing education courses in women’s issues such as pregnancy problems, pelvic pain, and incontinence. Special treatment is available for women that have these problems. Many that suffer from incontinence do so needlessly. A physiotherapist may be able to help.
  • Ergonomics and Workplace Injury Rehabilitation – Physiotherapists can help with those that have suffered on-the-job injuries. Moreover, they will evaluate work tasks, fabricate assistive devices, evaluate your ergonomic situation, and help redesign work flow/tasks to decrease the incidence of injury.
  • Pediatric Physiotherapy – Pediatric therapists help with the rehabilitation of children.  They may assist with kids that suffer from cerebral palsy, developmental disorders, neurological disorders, and/or orthopedic problems.
  • Geriatric Physical Therapy – Physiotherapists can also be involved in the rehabilitation of seniors.  As the body ages, a variety of challenges arise.  We stiffen, we lose strength, our balance skills decline, our bones become brittle (osteoporosis), our endurance decreases, and we take longer to recover from injuries.  Balance and fall prevention are of paramount importance to the therapist that is working with seniors and some clinics are solely dedicated to caring for those with balance problems.  Most physiotherapists work with seniors/geriatric patients.
  • Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation – This type of physiotherapist works with patients who have had heart attacks, bypass surgeries, angioplasty, breathing problems, emphysema, and other heart/lung related conditions. Physiotherapists are well equipped to work with these types of patients because many of them have orthopedic ailments that limit their ability to function. In other words, a physical therapist can address the heart and lung problems as well as the muscle problems that are concurrently present.
  • Neurological, Spinal Cord Injury, and Traumatic Brain Injury Rehab – A large portion of physiotherapists work with patients that suffer from these conditions. Functional retraining including, walking, wheelchair use, getting in and out of bed or chairs (transfer training), moving in bed (bed mobility), and retraining patients to use their shoulders, arms, and hands are just some of the services these therapists provide to those with neurological involvement

To return to FAQs simply click here.