What Is Physical Therapy Evaluation? Benefits and What To Expect

What Is Physical Therapy Evaluation? Benefits and What To Expect



Imagine this: you're in the middle of your usual workout, pushing your limits and feeling great. Suddenly, you feel a sharp pain in your shoulder. You try to shake it off, thinking it's just a minor twinge, but the discomfort lingers. Sounds familiar? Maybe it's time to get a physical therapy evaluation.

A physical therapist examination brings many benefits to athletes and fitness enthusiasts. It also presents advantages for other individuals, such as office workers and those looking for wellness programs. If you are someone who experiences chronic pain or just wants to recover your body’s mobility to get back to the court, then keep reading.

Physical therapy evaluation and treatments are a proactive approach to address pain, prevent injuries, and optimize your body's performance. In this article, we will explain all you need to know about physical therapy evaluation, how the process works, and what you can expect from this comprehensive approach.

What Is Physical Therapy Evaluation?

If you are new to physical treatments, you are probably asking what this treatment is all about. A physical therapy evaluation involves working with a physical therapist on many specific aspects of your body, how you move, and what you want to be able to do.

In other words, it is an assessment conducted by a licensed physical therapist to understand your body's condition and identify any underlying issues. The process starts with an evaluation to develop a personalized treatment plan tailored just for you. This means that not all physical therapy treatments are the same. There are as many plans as there are people.

To give you an idea, physical therapy treatment plans address various conditions such as chronic pain, limited range of motion affecting muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints, traumatic injuries or post-surgical complications, balance or vertigo disorders, and neurological disorders.

With a thorough evaluation of the sources of functional problems or pain, the physical therapist can ensure that every aspect of your condition is considered. This offers a holistic view of your health and how best to improve it.

Because that is why you—and we—are here: to feel better and improve performance. Let’s imagine that you come to Performance One for a Physical Therapy Evaluation for the first time. Here is what you can expect from the whole process, from the initial examination, assessment, and planning, to achieving your desired outcomes.

Initial Consultation

First, you will have a one-on-one meeting with a licensed physical therapist at P1. This initial consultation is crucial as it sets the foundation for your physical therapy treatment plan. We will start by reviewing your history and paperwork. This provides a good baseline of your general medical history, medications, and any other relevant background information.

Now, at least with us at P1, this first conversation is way more than just your medical history. When we start with our physical therapist examination, we want to understand who you are and why you are seeking this treatment. We want to learn about your habits, what you enjoy doing, your work, your challenges, and so on. With your motivations and goals clear, we will work together on a physical therapy routine and sessions that fit your body, your expectations, and your schedule.

Also, this is where we begin with our SOAP notes. With these notes, we can systematically document your progress and keep track of all the important details throughout your treatment journey.

SOAP stands for Subjective, Objective, Assessment, and Plan, and here is how it works:

  • Subjective: Your personal experiences and symptoms.
  • Objective: Measurable data like your range of motion and strength.
  • Assessment: The therapist's professional evaluation of your condition.
  • Plan: An outlñine of the steps and treatments moving forward.

Basically, when starting a physical therapy evaluation, SOAP is the way we will keep track of your progress, together with you.

Now that we are done with the initial consultation, what’s next? We get the physical therapy assessment started.

Physical Examination

Here we start with some action. The physical examination is the second part of our physical evaluation process, focusing on a movement screen. As physical therapists, we need to understand which types of movements you have difficulty with. 

So to begin, we will get you started with some basic tasks, such as walking, sitting on a chair, or getting up. We want to see how you move normally and then give you some challenges to better assess your capabilities.

During the hands-on assessment, we will check your range of motion, comparing the left side of your body to the right, and assessing whether your strength is balanced in areas like your hips and shoulders.

Some of the key aspects we will be testing include:

  • Balance: Ensuring you can maintain your stability in various positions.
  • Strength: Measuring the power of your muscles, particularly in key areas like your hips and shoulders.
  • Muscle Function: Checking how well your muscles work together to perform movements.
  • Joint Function: Assessing the health and mobility of your joints.
  • Mobility: Evaluating how freely you can move your body through its full range of motion.
  • Range of Motion: Measuring how far your joints can move in different directions.
  • Posture: We’ll observe your body alignment to identify any imbalances or issues.
  • Flexibility: Testing how well your muscles and joints can stretch.
  • Coordination: Seeing how smoothly you can perform tasks that require multiple muscle groups working together.
  • Functional Movements: Observing your ability to perform everyday activities with ease.
  • Body Mechanics: Understanding how efficiently you use your body during movement.

After we conduct this comprehensive assessment, we will design a tailored plan that meets your needs and goals.

Benefits of Physical Therapy Evaluation

So here we are. After the initial consultation and movement screen, comes debriefing and planning for your physical therapy sessions. The physical therapist will go over all the assessment observations. Together, we will discuss everything we found and define your physical therapy treatment plan, determining what’s best for your schedule and how you would feel most comfortable working.

How does a physical therapy treatment plan look? This plan might include some exercises, manual therapy techniques, and home exercises, such as: 

  • Manual therapies: Hands-on techniques to improve movement and relieve pain.
  • Heat or ice: Modalities to reduce inflammation and ease discomfort.
  • Ultrasound: Sound waves to promote tissue healing.
  • Electrical stimulation: Using electrical currents to enhance muscle function and pain relief.
  • Laser treatments: Light therapy to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Additional treatments, like dry needling: Techniques targeting muscle pain and tension.

Most physical therapy practices assume that the patient will come twice a week for the next three months. Here at P1, we take a different approach and define a schedule that truly works for you. We want you to achieve your goals, so making things work on your time and schedule is really important to us.

Education is also a crucial aspect of our physical therapy treatments. We want you to learn something new about yourself and your body in every session. Your physiotherapist will be there for you, discussing your exercises, and how you are feeling, and following up on your progress.


Here at Performance One, we work to maintain good and healthy habits and prevent injuries.

For Athletes

If you are an athlete and you just got injured, we know how you are feeling. You just want to get back to the game, fast. For any sports player, injuries can be incredibly challenging. However, it is important to understand that the body needs time and proper physical therapy. Above all, health and safety come first.

Physical therapy is not something that athletes do only when they get injured. It also offers the benefits of injury prevention for any sports player. Through a detailed evaluation, we can identify any weaknesses, imbalances, or movement patterns that put you at risk.

Good athletes are proactive. With the best physical therapy evaluation, they know their body's capabilities better and prevent any injuries before they happen. Physical therapy isn’t just about recovery; it’s also about optimizing your body’s performance. Our tailored programs focus on improving your strength, flexibility, and coordination, which are essential for peak athletic performance. In fact, physical therapy evaluations are the foundation of a competitive edge for any athlete.

Your health and strength are not just about you; they’re about your team and your career. Compromising your health by rushing back too soon can lead to further injuries and longer recovery times. This is why a physical therapy evaluation is so important for athletes.

At Performance One, we are dedicated to helping athletes like you stay healthy, recover faster, and enhance your performance. Your success is our success, and we are here to support you every step of the way.

What to Expect During a Physical Therapy Evaluation

How long do physical therapy evaluations last? At Performance One, a typical evaluation takes between 60 to 90 minutes, and you can check the pricing here. During these sessions, our certified therapists get to know you and tailor your workout plan specifically for you.


Some of you may be wondering if you will need to do exercises at home. The answer is yes, home exercises are an important part of your recovery. We will provide you with a customized exercise plan to follow at home to enhance your progress between sessions.

Now, here comes the big question: How long will it take to see results? The timeline varies depending on your condition and how well you stick to the physical therapy treatment plan. Some patients notice improvements within a few weeks, while others may take longer. For this, we will have specialized follow-up sessions to ensure that everything is on track for you to achieve your goals.

Follow-Up Evaluations

As for follow-up visits, these can take from 30 to 60 minutes. Together with your physical therapist, you can define how often you should schedule follow-up evaluations. Just keep in mind that the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) suggests that physical therapy plans should be reevaluated every 30 days, or as needed in response to the treatment.

The important thing is to follow up on how the physical therapy is working towards your desired goals. By monitoring progress and adjusting the treatment plan, you can keep learning to maintain a healthy routine and understand what works best for you.


So, if you wanted a comprehensive tour of physical therapy evaluation, here you have it. We've walked through the whole process, from the initial consultation to the detailed physical examination, the many benefits, and the importance of follow-up evaluations. This approach offers benefits for everyone, from athletes to office workers dealing with nagging pain.

Remember that sharp pain, discomfort, or twitch you felt? Don’t overlook it. A physical therapy evaluation can help identify the root cause and set you on a path to feeling better, stronger, more flexible, and vital. At Performance One, we are dedicated to helping you achieve your goals.

So, take the first step towards a healthier, more active life. Schedule your physical therapy evaluation today and experience the difference with Performance One!

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