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Leaps and Bounds – The Future of Physical Therapy Technology

New technologies continue to shape and change every profession, and physical therapy is no exception. Our constant search for better ways to heal chronic pain, treat injuries, and become stronger has led some innovative minds to create incredible tech that is reshaping how we heal. Here are a few examples that seem like something straight out of a sci-fi movie.

Motion Capture and Analysis

No matter how observant we are, we can’t perceive everything perfectly, and it’s no different for physical therapists. Using cameras to record patients’ movements helps PTs make more accurate assessments. In the past, it was up to PTs to analyze these movements unassisted. Now, computer programs use algorithms to track a person’s movements and analyze them in real time. This frees up PTs to actually work with patients instead of poring over camera footage and logging and analyzing movements.

Virtual Reality Therapy

While still miles away from a totally immersive VR experience, the distraction from the real world that virtual reality provides is already benefiting physical therapy patients. At the Norton Mobility Lab in Louisville, children with conditions like cerebral palsy are turning games into exercises. Projected on a big screen in front of their exercise space, games dependent on correctly performing their routine hold a young child’s attention during repetitive exercises. With the help of VR, these children can take small steps into a larger, more technologically advanced world.

An App to Improve Your Balance

There’s an app for everything these days, including physical therapy. While some apps are merely informational, others can help provide useful data for patients and PTs during the recovery process. Take the Sway Medical app, for example. This free app can be an invaluable tool for tracking a person’s ability to balance post-concussion. The app measures your balance on a scale from 0–100, and keeps track of data from previous balance tests so you can measure your progress. With this simple app, you can be on the road to recovery in no time.

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