Surviving Day One of Physical Therapy

Written by: Jen Kelly PT, DPT

We get it, going to the doctors can be anxiety producing for some people, but it doesn’t have to be. Some of this anxiety can be reduced just by knowing what to expect when you walk in the door. We love what we do and enjoy helping people like yourself, and we want you to be as comfortable as possible when you get here. Here’s an idea of what you can expect on your first day and how to make it most successful.


What to expect during your first appointment at FOUNDATIONperformance:

  • When you arrive you will be greeted by one of our front desk staff who will help to answer any billing, financial, or insurance questions you have or get you started on your paperwork. If you were able to fill it out ahead of time, by downloading it from our website, you’ll save yourself a little time.
  • They will also take your payment at this time. The amount you owe for your visit will vary depending on your insurance provider and plan, and is not decided upon by our office.  Our front desk will do a benefit check for you and let you know prior to your appointment what to expect, so there are no surprises when you get here. If you have any questions on this, we encourage you to check with your insurance company regarding your specific coverage prior to your appointment.
  • Evaluation with one of our licensed physical therapists
      • Conversation: Your physical therapist will spend time getting to know you and your concerns as well as your goals for PT.
      • Physical exam: Your physical therapist will evaluate range of motion, strength, joint mobility, functional movement and any other clinically relevant items that will lead to the diagnosis and the development of your plan of care.
      • Treatment: After gathering necessary information regarding your condition, if time permits and your insurance company allows, your physical therapist will initiate treatment to get you started on your way to healthier, pain-free movement. This may include some hands on treatment, exercise, education or movement/posture instruction all depending on the findings of the exam and your goals.
      • Home activities:  Your physical therapist will likely provide you with some exercises or modifications that you can implement immediately at home or work to actively move toward your goals before your next session.
      • Develop a plan: Your physical therapist will communicate to you the areas of focus, expected length of treatment, and the initial plan. Your therapist is constantly assessing and re-assessing and will let you know if there is a change in this plan along the way for any reason.


  • Schedule follow up sessions:
    • Your therapist will let you know how many sessions to schedule to get the most benefit from your treatment. If you know your schedule, you can book them as far in advance as you’re able (we recommend this as our schedule does get busy). This way you can ensure you have times that are most convenient for you.
    • Our ultimate goal is to decrease any painful symptoms you’re having, improve your function and make you more independent in managing your symptoms and preventing future injury. Physical therapy is a commitment requiring engagement, time, and collaboration with your physical therapist for the most successful outcome.

How to make the most of your first day of Physical Therapy:

Arrive early

  • We value your time and pride ourselves on taking patients on time. In order for us to spend more quality time with you during your appointment please arrive early to fill out the necessary paperwork. It can be a little time consuming but it helps us provide the best care possible. Please allow at least 15 min.

Wear Comfortable clothing

  • Your therapist will perform a thorough exam in order to develop a plan of care that moves you closer to your goals. Therefore, it’s best if you wear something that allows access to the area of concern, ie. shorts for lower leg and thigh issues, tank tops for access to shoulders, etc. If you have a running concern, please bring the shoes you normally run in, and any orthotics, braces, inserts you may have.

Bring any additional information

  • We want to understand you and your concerns fully so we can provide you with the best care possible. The more information we have the better. Bring along any imaging reports such as xrays, MRIs, or ultrasounds you may have as well as any visit reports or impressions from doctors or specialists if possible.

Gather your thoughts

  • This is your opportunity to tell your story. Take a moment to think about dates of injuries, significant fluctuations in pain, activities that are most limiting for you and those you would like to get back to, as well as any other information you feel is useful in understanding your concerns. We can really hit the ground running if you let us know how we can best be of service to you!

We look forward to working with you!