What to Wear to Physical Therapy

Sep 13, 2023
Are you starting physical therapy for the first time? If so, you may have a lot of questions. One of the most commonly asked questions that patients ask before coming to their first appointment is, “What should I wear?”

What to Wear to Physical Therapy

Are you starting physical therapy for the first time? If so, you may have a lot of questions. One of the most commonly asked questions that patients ask before coming to their first appointment is, “What should I wear?” This is a good question because how you dress for physical therapy is important. Your clothing should help you, not get in the way. Follow these guidelines for what to wear to physical therapy. 

Suggested Attire for PT in General

It is best to wear loose-fitting athletic clothing for physical therapy. It is important for you to be comfortable and that you can move your body without any restrictions to your range of motion. Dress like you would to go to the gym or to work out at home, because you will be exercising and working your muscles. Wear moisture-wicking clothing because you will likely sweat during your session. It is also important that your physical therapist is able to see and access the parts of your body that you are focusing on. 

What to Wear for Lower Body PT

If your physical therapy session is going to focus on the lower body (legs, knees, or ankles) it would be best to wear shorts or loose fitting pants that can be rolled up above the knee. While you are performing physical therapy exercises, it is important for your therapist to be able to see the muscles and tendons working so that they can be sure you are working the right muscles. It may also help them to identify any potential problems and to make the necessary adjustments to your therapy. 

What to Wear for Upper Body PT

Short sleeves would be sufficient for wrist or elbow therapy, but if you have a shoulder injury it would be best to wear a tank top or sleeveless shirt so that your therapist has direct access. A sleeve that is loose enough to be pushed up may be sufficient, but it may get in the way or continue to slip down. 

What Shoes to Wear

It would be best to wear athletic shoes (tennis shoes, sneakers) to your physical therapy appointment. Even if you have a foot injury, you will still wear your shoes for many of the exercises you’ll be performing. Your physical therapist may also want to look at your shoes and determine if they are providing sufficient support for your feet. Insoles or even orthopedic shoes may be recommended. 

Dress in Layers

You may want to wear layers to your physical therapy session. If you start with a sweatshirt on you can remove it as you warm up or start in long pants with shorts underneath so that you can remove the pants as needed. This can be helpful when the weather is cold outside. 

Clothing to Avoid Wearing to Physical Therapy

There are some types of clothing that you should not wear to physical therapy, such as:

  • Tight fitting clothes that restrict your movement 
  • Dress shoes, sandals, flip flops, high heels, etc. 
  • Business attire
  • Heavy clothing that could allow you to feel overheated 
  • Jewelry
  • Lotion (can cause slipping when using equipment)

Can I Change Clothes There? 

If you are coming straight from work or if the weather is too cold to wear shorts, you can bring your athletic clothes and change into them before your session. 

What to Wear For Suspension Therapy 

Redcord treatment, a form of suspension therapy, is revolutionizing physical therapy. This method suspends your body on a series of slings or swings that hang from above, making it possible to relieve the pressure on some body parts while focusing on the specific body parts that need therapy. If your PT will involve Redcord treatment, you’ll need to be especially sure to follow this guide on what to wear to physical therapy. Avoid applying lotion right before your session so that you don’t slip around in the various slings and supports that will be suspending your body. 

Redcord Treatment is Available at Manhattan Physical Therapy 

Redcord treatment, the leading suspension therapy method, is offered exclusively at Manhattan Physical Therapy. No other PT facility in New York City offers this specific type of treatment. It has been known to accelerate progress and recovery by as much as 10 times the results of typical treatment. 

Call (212) 213-3480 today schedule an appointment or enquire here about our services. We look forward to helping you accelerate your recovery and reduce your pain.