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Physical Therapy Exercises You Can Do at Home

by | Apr 5, 2021 | Physical Therapy

What is Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy is a service provided to patients for a wide array of reasons such as seen in the following.

  • Help the patient develop, restore maximum movement of extremities from the waist downward
  • Help that patient maintain increased flexibility through various interventions such as exercise, manual methods, stretching, and strengthening.
  • Physical therapy sessions treat patients who have been injured or have a deformity to any of their lower extremities.
  • Physical Therapy is known as an alternative treatment, holistic in nature, and does not use drugs or surgery to correct issues.

The methods employed by a physical therapist include but are not limited to the following.

  • Massage
  • Heat/Cold applications
  • Exercise

The doctor orders physical therapy for you and the therapist gives you a schedule to keep. You should not break the schedule by missing a therapy appointment. It is critical to your healing process to not miss a session. However, therapists do know that things in life happen that are unpreventable. In the event, a session is missed perhaps your physical therapist gave you an instruction guide to continue your sessions at home. It is vital to keep on schedule, so you have no setbacks in the healing process.

Your instruction guide tells you all about a few household items around your home that can assist you with exercises on those ligaments and tendons, and continue with your muscle stretches. The following is a breakdown of therapy exercises on various parts of your body according to what your therapist orders to meet your goals for complete healing. Physical therapy exercises at the therapist’s office or in your home you will find that there are standard practices across the board for all therapists no matter what state you reside in or the therapist company you chose.

Your physical therapist probably to you to warm up your muscles before beginning any exercise routine with gentle stretching exercises. Expect your muscles to be extra sore for a day or two after your exercise sessions. Drink at least eight eight-ounce glasses of water daily unless your doctor has you on water restriction. Water helps to ease sore muscles. If pain continues beyond two days consult with your doctor or physical therapist.

Before you begin any level of strength or resistance exercises, follow these tips for best results:

Foot and Leg Exercises

You can treat your plantar fasciitis and shin split at home. You will need a ball no larger than a golf ball. Place the ball on the ground and place your foot on top pressing your arch against the ball while gently rolling the ball against the arch of your foot. You will find points of tenderness so when you do apply a bit more pressure to the spot for no longer than 30 seconds. This exercise helps to decrease your foot pain as it loosens up the muscles and tendons.

Leg Stretches

This exercise helps to relieve leg pain and prevent back discomfort. This exercise is excellent for sciatica and other injuries. All you need is a dish towel. Lie down on the floor, bend your knees while keeping your feet flat on the ground. Loop the towel around the ball of the food while straightening your leg into the air. Stretch your leg until it is parallel with the wall. Pull the towel toward your face you will feel your hamstring lightly stretch. At this point, hold your leg in this position for 20-seconds. You need to repeat this twice for each leg giving the muscles ample time to stretch.

Leg Stretches

Hand Strengthening Exercises

This exercise is excellent if you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, osteoarthritis, or RA. This exercise can be done anywhere, and it requires no tools. Make a fist and place your thumb across the fingers. Keep this hand position for about one minute then open your hand as wide as you can while spreading the fingers apart. Repeat four times on each hand. This exercise makes a big difference in how your hand and wrist feel and function.

Lower Back Pain

Back pain stems from unlimited reasons such as a car accident or just exiting the car can cause back pain. It seems as though nearly every American suffers at some point. There are simple exercises you can do to decrease pain.

  • Lie on your back on the floor or an exercise mat.
  • Bend your knees.
  • Place your feet hip-distance apart on the floor
  • Take a deep breath, exhale while slowly lifting your hips off the floor. Your upper body, hips, and knees form a straight line.
  • Hold the position for a couple of seconds.
  • Lower your body to the ground, inhaling once more.
  • Repeat until you feel relief from your back pain.

Physical Therapy for Fall Prevention

Emergency rooms across America treat massive amounts of people due to falls. Given the right tools, emergency rooms could see a drastic decline in falls. Falls usually prompt the doctor to order physical therapy sessions because the majority of falls are preventable and reducible to nearly 40 percent per year. Contributing factors for falls include a lack of balance, dizziness, stumbling. The physical therapist:

  • Evaluates balance
  • Recommends exercise appropriate and individualized
  • Safe to perform at home

The following exercises are standard across the United States

Standing March

Standing in the kitchen, hold firmly onto the kitchen counter. Start moving your legs as though marching. Do this for 30-seconds. As the balance is restored the therapist may have you do this exercise on various surfaces.

standing march physical therapy

Standing Three-Way Kicks

Stand on one leg and slowly raise the other leg out in front of you while keeping that leg straight. Return the leg to the center. Lift the same leg to the side and back down. Extend the same leg behind your body and back down. Repeat as many times as possible. As the balance is restored your therapist may remove your support.


While holding onto a countertop step sideways in one direction with toes pointed straight ahead until you reach the end. Return to the other direction. The therapist mad us a resistance band at the knees or above the ankles.

One-Leg Stand

Stand on one leg as long as possible while holding onto a stable surface, first one leg then the other three to five times. As balance restores the therapist may have you do chores while doing this exercise such as washing dishes.

Sit to Stand, Stand to Sit

Rise from a sitting position without using arms. If you cannot manage, try sitting on a firm pad to help you rise. Return to a sitting position while lowering yourself and avoid dropping into the chair.

Heel to Toe Standing or Walking

Place one foot directly in front of the other so that the heel touches the front of your foot. Hold the position as long as possible.

Schedule Physical Therapy Sessions Today

We are a level four trauma center in Gainesville, Texas. We are one facility serving the physical therapy needs of the residents in Gainesville and surrounding areas. We have an outstanding physical therapy department to fit your every need. Stop by for a visit and speak to one of our physical therapists when the doctor orders your physical therapy. Access our website for more information.

There are too many good benefits from Physical Therapy sessions.

  • Speeds the healing process
  • Stretches/strengthens muscles and joints
  • Speeds healing of sports injuries
  • Improves general mobility and flexibility
  • Helps to manage chronic conditions like arthritis
  • Speeds healing and recovery after major surgery
  • Increases abilities in daily living activities

If you live in Gainesville, Texas, or any of the surrounding areas and need physical therapy services please access our website, North Texas Medical Center is host to at least nine specialty departments including an award-winning physical therapy center. If you are ever in need of physical therapy services give us a call at 940-665-1751 and let us know how we can best fit your therapy needs.

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