Uncertainty about whether office visits are safe or virtual visits are effective keep athletes from seeking physical therapy. Their own judgement and a simple evaluation can help them decide for themselves.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

There are good cases that support either mode of treatment so long as it is appropriate for the injury. The trick, it seems, is the injured athlete’s ability to self-evaluate and then move forward correctly. How can athletes know whether a virtual visit will do the trick? Constancy of symptoms and ability—or inability—to bear weight are two factors that can help make the determination.

Questions about whether soft tissue massage will be needed must also be addressed in addition to whether an athlete has home-based equipment that can be used therapeutically, such as an exercise bicycle, elliptical, or treadmill.

One physical therapist offers a big-picture approach to simplify the decision:

“…consider if you can correct the problem with education and a home treatment plan, says Conway Kleven. “If yes, you can start with virtual therapy, but if the answer is ‘no,’ maybe set up a time to see your doctor and then re-evaluate.”

— Brooke Conway Kleven, DPT, PhD, UNLV School of Public Health

Details appear in this full-length interview in Bicycling that includes comment from Conway Kleven and two other physical therapists.