Physiotherapists are health professionals who evaluate physical problems and injuries, then provide education and treatment to promote health and physical function. Physiotherapists also develop programs that include exercise and stretching to increase fitness and prevent injury.

A physiotherapist provides hands-on treatment to help return normal movement to joints and muscles. He or she gives instruction about exercises to help heal and strengthen the body. Treatment may include physical or mechanical means, such as mobilization and manipulation of joints, exercise, heat, or mild electrical current. Physiotherapists also use devices such as prosthetics (artificial limbs), orthotics (braces and supports), and equipment to help a person in daily life.

Some physiotherapists treat a wide range of ailments. Others specialize in areas such as pediatrics, geriatrics, orthopedics, sports physiotherapy, neurology, cardiovascular, pulmonary, oncology, and women's health. Physiotherapists work for hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, rehabilitation facilities, fitness facilities, and schools.

Regulation of physiotherapists varies from province to province. The College of Physiotherapists licenses physiotherapists and ensures that they have met the provincial standards before being allowed to practice physiotherapy.

Current as of: October 9, 2017

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Brian O'Brien, MD, FRCPC - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Joan Rigg, PT, OCS - Physical Therapy