Host: Dr. Matt Minard

Episode Summary

Dr. Matt Minard is a Physical Therapist who enjoys both the physical and mental benefits of running. In addition, he’s passionate about helping others run safely.

Dr. Minard explains how physical therapists evaluate patients to design a treatment strategy tailored to their needs and significant signs and events necessitating a physical therapy consultation.

Join the Learn 2 Run Club for training plans, mechanics education on how to run efficiently, and resources for physical therapists or running coaches.

Topics discussed in each episode are (or will soon be) available on the Learn 2 Run YouTube page.

Should you see a physical therapist?

Top Takeaways

  • “In my opinion, the most important is patient education.”
    – [Dr. Matt Minard]
  • “If you’ve had any kind of orthopedic surgery, I highly recommend you see a physical therapist.”
    – [Dr. Matt Minard]
  • “If I can, I try to avoid any hands-on because I try to see; ‘how much improvement can he get on his own?”
    – [Dr. Matt Minard]
  • “When in doubt, see a physical therapist.”
    – [Dr. Matt Minard]
  • “Every physical therapist should be efficient and competent in dry needling.”
    – [Dr. Matt Minard]

Episode Highlights

  • [01:20] Today’s topic: To see a physical therapist or not?
  • [02:52] What do physical therapists actually do?
  • [08:27] Six questions that determine if you need a physical therapist.
  • [15:23] When should you not see a physical therapist?
  • [16:44] Do you need to have a referral to see a physical therapist?
  • [18:46] A typical physical therapy evaluation.
  • [27:10] Case scenarios for a typical physical therapy session.
  • [56:09] Active vs. Passive treatment strategies.
  • [01:00:06] Personal Trainers vs. Physical Therapists.

Episode Notes

When should you see a physical therapist?

Physical therapist applying kinesio tape on female patients knee. Close up cropped shot.

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) defines physical therapists as movement experts who improve quality of life through prescribed exercises, hands-on care, and patient education. As movement experts, they assess and make deductions from your movement.

Hands-on care may involve facilitating the standard mechanics of the body either with the hands or other tools. Patient education is crucial because it empowers the patient to promote their healing.

Physical therapists are mechanical intervention specialists, meaning all things movement.

This episode covers three essential aspects of your search:

  1. Key questions that can help you decide if you need to see a physical therapist
  2. An outline of a physical therapy evaluation
  3. Common case examples

6 questions to help you decide if you need to see a physical therapist

If you answer yes to any of these questions, consider seeing a physical therapist.

  1. Do you have pain that affects your quality of sleep or quality of life?
  2. Do you have pain that is causing compensations like limping?
  3. Do you have pain with an unknown cause?
  4. Do you have pain that has not improved with rest and recovery over a week or do you want to be sure you even need that time off to rest?
  5. Do you have pain while working a job that involves repetitive movement or sustained postures?
  6. Have you had any form of orthopedic surgery?

You should only see a physical therapist if you are willing, open, and receptive to change. Having an open mind is crucial.

Access to physical therapists

Right now, in all fifty states of the US, there is some direct access to therapists without a referral. Access is much more limited in some other areas, but there are no restrictions in other states like North Carolina.

Nonetheless, while there is direct access to a physical therapist first, rest assured they can identify when you need to see a different specialist.

Physical therapy evaluation and treatment sessions

Physical therapist examining young mans leg at the hospital gym

A typical physical therapy evaluation or treatment session is preceded by an intake form or survey filled out by the patient. The information provided helps show how functional you are with your discomfort.

The session has four main components: SOAP (Subjective, Objective, Assessment, and Plan).

  1. The subjective aspect is where the therapist asks questions to create a list of differential diagnoses of what may be going on.
  2. The objective involves taking the patient through a series of daily life movements to create a form of baseline and assess movement, range of motion, or strength.
  3. The assessment is where the therapist decides on the problem
  4. Then a treatment plan is prescribed.

In most cases, the second visit includes checking for signs of improvement, and if there are none, was something missed?

Treatment does not always have to be a long, drawn-out process, as no two patients or situations are alike.

Treatment should be a healthy blend of active and passive care.

Active treatment is where the therapist shows the patient what to do, while passive strategies involve the therapist carrying out treatment techniques on the patient.

It also helps to ask for ideas on which physical therapist to see. Again, choose someone who understands you, especially someone who can relate to your goals.

Identifying red flags when choosing a physical therapist

It is crucial to identify red flags. Therapists who don’t listen to patients are closed-minded to a different strategy and believe they fix patients rather than work with them to get better.

Upfront payment for multiple sessions may also not be a good sign because it can distract from the goal of getting the patient better as quickly as possible.

Physical therapists should be efficient in Dry Needling and the employment of the McKenzie Method.

Other types of help

While personal trainers are great, most have little medical background. However, they are good with rehabilitation or improving performance and sometimes work well with physical therapists. A chiropractor may have different strategies to help a patient.

The goal is accomplished as long as the patient gets the needed help.

Dr. Minard has three courses with certification for physical therapists:


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  • Part A includes the mechanical aspect of Learn to Run systems.
  • Part B incorporates mobility and strength into the system.
  • Part C fine-tunes the system’s mechanics with drills, cues, and scenarios.

Learn 2 Run

You can download the five-week Running Program for Beginners. You can also use The Tennis Ball Necklace Experience and The Shoe Intake Form.

The Learn to Run System is available online and contains three levels: mechanics, tissue adaptation, and oxygen consumption. DM him “Adapt” to get $100 off for The Learn to Run System.

The free Learn 2 Run Courses:

To vote on the next topic that will be discussed, follow Dr. Minard on Instagram or send him an email.


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