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What's the Difference Between Athletic Training and Physical Therapy?

What's the Difference Between Athletic Training and Physical Therapy?

Athletic trainers and physical therapists both play vital roles in sports and orthopedic medicine, roles with many similarities but distinct functions. Read on to discover the differences between athletic training and physical therapy, and learn how both athletic trainers and physical therapists can find the best

The Best in Sports Medicine Products at Mountainside Medical Equipment

Athletic Training

Athletic trainers attend to a wide spectrum of medical conditions, from acute to chronic injuries and other conditions, and offer a multifaceted approach that deals with everything from individual injuries to systemic approaches in injury prevention. Their work may cover everything including prevention, examination, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation. Many have an integrated role in an organization and shape that organization's approach to health.

Benefits of Athletic Training

  • Focus on Prevention and Risk Management: Athletic trainers often work with athletic departments, sports teams, and other organizations to find ways to reduce strain and injury potential on athletes. This can mean reduced playtime, altering practice methods, and compensating for nagging injuries.
  • Immediate Support: Athletic trainers are often present during practices, games, and competitions, providing a quick response to stabilize an injured athlete. They also can recognize the level and type of injury in order to best direct an athlete's immediate care.
  • Knowledgeable Support and Determination: Most coaches aren't trained to recognize concussions or the extent of an injury. Athletic trainers understand these conditions and can also make objective determinations on whether an athlete is in appropriate shape to compete.
  • Reduced Injury and Rehabilitation Time: Athletic trainers make care decisions that are both urgent and structural, improving outcomes for injured athletes and preventing wear and tear that can cause more injuries.
  • Policy Decisions: Athletic trainers can shape policy in athletic organizations and schools to improve regulations for athletes.
  • Personal Decisions and Guidance: Athletic trainers can offer recommendations on both acute and long-term care, and even guidance on lifestyle choices.


Physical Therapy (PT)

Physical therapy provides a safe, effective alternative pathway to pain relief. It involves the use of exercise, soft tissue mobilization, muscle stimulation, hydrotherapy, and other methods to strengthen the body, improves range of motion, and restores function while providing pain relief that can lessen dependence on medication. Physical therapy is a complex discipline that can be utilized as part of a recovery or rehabilitation program for any number of conditions.

Benefits of Physical Therapy

  • Pain Management: Manual therapy techniques, as well as therapeutic exercises and treatments, to relieve pain, break down scar tissue, and restore joint function and motion to reduce pain.
  • Improved Mobility: Identification of specific issues affecting movement. Strengthening exercises and stretching to rebuild muscle and increase joint range of motion. Proper fitting for an assistive device.
  • Improved Balance: Screening for fall risks. Coordination and balance exercises, as well as techniques that reduce vertigo symptoms and restore inner-ear balance.
  • Managing Diabetes and Vascular Conditions: Exercise to control blood sugar. Foot and wound care to manage the effects of poor circulation to the legs, as well as therapies to improve circulation.
  • Aging Management: Exercises and techniques to help manage the effects of arthritis and osteoporosis, as well as joint pain and replacement.
  • Avoiding/Recovering from Surgery: Strengthen muscles and rebuild range of motion after surgery. Pre-surgery physical therapy to ease recovery or avoid surgery altogether.
  • Recovery from Stroke or Heart Attack: Regain strength, balance, coordination, and control of movement.
  • Sports Injury Prevention and Management: Design plans for injury recovery or prevention tailored to the demands of a particular sport.

Physical therapy has something to offer anyone, and this is possibly its greatest strength: adaptability. The ability to meet each individual patient's needs with therapy plans created alongside the patient not only creates better outcomes, but also allows more autonomy and independence for a patient with a serious injury or chronic condition.

The Best in Sports Medicine Products at Mountainside Medical Equipment

Visit Mountainside Medical Equipment for the Best Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy Products

Ensuring you're at your healthiest involves many different aspects of health: the right diet and nutrients, adequate rest, regular exercise, and the right medications to manage ongoing conditions. Luckily Mountainside Medical Equipment has you covered! We've got everything from bone & joint health supplements to topical pain gels to get you active and help you stay healthy. Click this link to visit our physical therapy products and this link to visit our sports medicine collection!

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