Fashion Police

Disclaimer: This post is not directed towards any patients of mine. The following observations have been discussed by myself and fellow PT’s over the years, and I think it is time the public becomes informed, and hopefully laughs a little.

Patient: (Calling PT clinic for the first time) Hi, I’d like to schedule an initial evaluation

Administrator: Okay, well I will need to get some information from you first.. yadda, yadda, yadda

(After 5 minutes of info taking)

Patient: Thank you for your help.

Administrator: Oh, one last thing. Make sure you wear comfortable clothing, because your therapist may have you move around a lot.

(End call)

Comfortable clothing  has apparently changed in recent years. When I started working in PT clinics over 5 years ago you could look around and see sweats, basketball shorts, sneakers, jeans, and t-shirts, and not much else. But, apparently the current state of comfortable clothing is somewhat unacceptable.  I have taken it upon myself to point out a few articles of clothes that most likely do not belong in a PT clinic.

Who wears short shorts? HE wears short shorts?: I have no problem with short shorts, worn in the appropriate settings (the beach, John Stockton, etc) . One of these settings is not one where you may be asked to touch your toes, or lay on your back with your legs in the air. I understand that when in private rooms boundaries can get hazy with dress code, but when in an open clinic, the fact that YOU may not mind “feeling an extra breeze” here and there, doesn’t mean that the other patients don’t mind. Boxers fall into this category too, regardless of length, due to the fact that they are UNDERWEAR.

Onesies (one-zees): Yes, real onesies are still worn. When I need to look at your back, it’s probably not best to cover it in one of the most inaccessible articles of clothing ever created.

Heels: Okay, I understand that you came from work. I also understand that you were told to bring comfortable clothes. I cannot think of many women who will say heels qualify as comfortable clothes. I am sure to point this out during my evaluations. When I tell these women (sorry to pick on you ladies, I haven’t eval’d a guy wearing heels yet) to bring their sneakers the second visit because I want to watch them run, I will without a doubt get a woman in heels. I don’t even want to get into why they are bad for you.

Uggs: No explanation needed

Workout Gloves: I have had patients performing Olympic lifts while wearing gloves, and I am fine with that, but If you are about to perform wrist flexion and extension exercises with rubber coated 4lb weights, leave the gloves in the locker room.

Rocker-bottom Shoes: Even if these were backed with research, C’MON! I mean, look at them.  I have treated more people who have fallen down stairs while wearing them than people who say they work.

Over-sized Backpacks: I was in high school once too. I had massive amounts of homework too. I also knew how to use my locker. I once treated a 120lb class wrestler, whose backpack weighed 36lbs (Yes, I actually weighed it). That’s 30% of his body weight. That’s like me carrying 53 lbs on my back, RIDICULOUS. Oddly enough, I was treating him for back and knee pain.

If you are a physical therapist please feel free to add to this list. Please keep things clean, and remember, this is all in good fun.


5 responses to “Fashion Police

  1. Oh, my… can I ever add to the list!

    Oh, please, do not wear jeans without a belt so the waist of your jeans is just above or below your… well, your butt crack. The *whole* time I’m trying to either evaluate or assess you, I am mentally worrying that you are going to get your knee caught in your jean crotch because it is hanging WAY too low! When your knee gets caught in the low hanging jean crotch, I envision you falling on your face. I can’t concentrate with this kind of stuff going through my mind!

    Now, seriously, if you happen to have a groin strain, I really, really do want you to wear underwear and I prefer that underwear to be briefs of some sort. Gentlemen… it is quite embarrassing to use my hands in that region if you are wearing boxers. Need I say more? Don’t embarrass your physical therapist.

    On the topic of underwear… please do wear it. There are still some physical therapists who may ask you to put on a gown. Again… please do not embarrass your physical therapist. If you happen to be wearing jeans without underwear and you tell me this, do you really think I can concentrate on my role to assist you in relieving your pain and getting you back to life? Seriously, what is going through my head… “hmmm, how exactly do you zip up those jeans without an injury?”

    Say no to flip flops. I know everyone wears them… I know most have at least 5 pairs of them. Flip flops just aren’t conducive to performing higher level activities safely. Okay, you *can* wear them in, if you want, but just bring along a pair of supportive shoes so we can have some fun!

    Now seriously… if you generally use a cane or a walker, by all means bring the thing with you to physical therapy! I completely understand why these devices are necessary, but I don’t understand why you leave them at home! Trust me, if you need it at home, you are most definitely going to want to have it when you are finished with a physical therapy session. The session often has a physical component – you’ll be a bit more tired and fatigued than normal and you’ll need the cane or walker as you leave the facility!

    Oh… and one thing to never, ever bring into the clinic… I completely understand you may have full legal right to carry a concealed weapon. Now, honestly, a physical therapy clinic just isn’t an appropriate place to have the weapon. I’m not against weapons… but I do get a bit nervous when there is a loaded weapon within my reach. It doesn’t do you any good to create a situation where I feel nervous and anxious. When I feel that way, I don’t think normally and I won’t be focusing on what you really need. Please just put the thing in the trunk of your vehicle during your session. I will very much appreciate your kind gesture.


  2. No one is getting warm enough at PT to wear a tube top. Period. How about a sports bra and tank top instead? I can see how your scapula moves under those straps just fine, I swear.

    And I agree, when I said I’d like you in shorts to see your knee, I did NOT mean boxers!

    And Selena, I tell my fellas with groin issues to “get all the furniture in the same room,” but I don’t think I’d use that with just any client!

  3. Great post Mike, sounds like you have officially been welcomed to California. First day of first job here had a lady just strip down to her skivvies ….wow wasn’t expecting that. So it tops my list-

    Nudity. Overalls. Skinny Jeans you can’t get over knees for patients with knee injuries. Skirts…..same problems as short shorts-hello.

  4. I had to come back to this one after being reminded of a classic moment at my old clinic. An OT was doing a post-offer employment screen on a young woman wearing very tight jeans. He asked her to squat to lift up a crate with some weight in it, and let me tell you…..the sound of her jeans ripping was heard loud and clear throughout the clinic. And to make matters worse, she was wearing underwear, just not much. Fortunately, it was a cooler day and she had a jacket, which the (male) OT instructed her to wrap around her waist and exit through the back door and come back with some more appropriate clothing on. We all obviously had quite a few laughs about this one.

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