For many people, the first visit to a physical therapy (PT) clinic can be a little bit daunting. You may not know what to expect or what to bring with you. However, physical therapy is an important part of life for many people, and it’s nothing to be afraid of. But it’s important to know that what you wear is crucial for every PT appointment.

In this ultimate guide, we’ll discuss everything there is to know in a physical therapy session. This includes learning what a physical therapist does, what happens in sessions, and what you should wear to maximize your visit.

What does a Physical Therapist Do?

A physical therapist is a health care professional who helps patients with mobility problems. The most common problems and issues that physical therapists treat are hip pain, bad knees, and shoulder injuries. However, they also help patients with joint pain, chronic knee pain, upper body pain, and post-operative rehabilitation.

When it comes to physical therapy, mobility is key. By working to increase the range of motion in the knee joint, physical therapists can help patients move more easily and feel less knee pain.

They create a physical therapy treatment plan and use techniques to aid patients in regaining mobility. These can include stretching exercises, massage, and the use of heat or cold therapy. In addition, physical therapists also recommend the use of assistive devices such as canes, knee support cushions, or walkers for lower body injuries.

Physical therapists also help patients who’ve had knee replacement or other major surgery on their road to recovery. They make it possible for these patients to lead active and independent lives.

Don’t also be surprised if you see their assistants taking notes or helping you. Physical therapist assistants work under supervision and at times do the evaluations, exercises, and treatments recommended by the therapist.

What happens in Physical Therapy

When you arrive for your first appointment, your therapist will take a detailed history of your problem. They want to know how long you’ve been experiencing symptoms, what makes them better or worse, and if you’ve had any previous injuries to the area.

They’ll also ask about your overall health and any other medical conditions that might be impacting your injury. After taking your history, your therapist will then perform a physical examination. This will help them determine the cause of your pain and which they’ll use to develop a treatment plan.

A treatment plan is an individualized plan of care that is designed to meet your specific needs. It may include a combination of different types of therapies, exercises, and education. Your therapist will work with you to develop a treatment plan that meets your goals and that is realistic for your lifestyle.

Your first few physical therapy sessions will likely be concentrated on pain management and getting you moving again. But as you progress, your sessions will become more focused on the right exercises and activities that will help you regain strength and improve your overall mobility.

If you’re experiencing severe pain, your therapist may recommend you to see a doctor for further evaluation.

For your therapist to properly assess if your knees are in a good range of motion, you need to wear the proper clothes for physical therapy sessions.


7 Clothes to Wear to Physical Therapy for Knee

Now, the most important thing is to wear comfortable clothing. This means you shouldn’t wear anything formal like suits, dresses, and gowns. You need to move freely and not have any restrictions on your knee joints. Remember, you’re in a physical therapy clinic to move, not to do business.

As anyone who has undergone physical therapy knows, the right clothing can make a big difference in your comfort and progress. And if this is your first time booking a PT session for a knee injury, here are seven essential clothes you can wear.

Loose fitting clothes

First, you want to choose loose-fitting clothes that won’t constrict your movement. In the physical therapy clinic, you’ll be doing a lot of stretching and movements. Wear loose clothes in your PT sessions since it will help your therapist assess the movements of your knee. So a loose t-shirt or loose pants is the ideal dress code for patients. And as much as possible, avoid wearing turtlenecks.

They can be so constricting and uncomfortable, which is the last thing you want when you are trying to focus on your physical therapy. So, for the sake of both convenience and comfort, leave the turtlenecks at home when you head to your physical therapy appointment.

Tank top and shorts

Another clothing option you can wear is tank tops and shorts. These are super comfy and will help you stay cool during your session as you may get warm from all the exercises. Wearing shorts will also help your therapist see your knee movement more clearly.


If you are worried about showing too much skin, sweatpants are a good option. They are loose-fitting and will keep you warm if the PT room is cold. Just make sure that the pants are not so loose that they will get in the way of your movement.

Shorts or Capris

Another good option for what to wear to physical therapy is shorts or capris. Many people choose to wear shorts because they’re more comfortable than pants. If modesty is a concern for you, you can always wear a pair of yoga pants or leggings underneath your shorts. Don’t wear skirts or dresses. Skirts and dresses can also restrict your movement and make it difficult for your therapist to assess your knee.

Athletic shoes

Next, you’ll want to avoid wearing high heels, hard soles, and sandals. These types of shoes can increase your risk of falling and even injuring your knee more. Sports shoes are the best option because they provide support and stability. Also, make sure to wear socks with your athletic shoes to avoid any blisters.

Hair tie

If you have longer hair, it’s a good idea to bring a hair tie to physical therapy. Depending on the exercises you’re doing, your hair can get in the way and be a distraction. It can also be dangerous if your hair is loose and gets caught on something. And if you don’t have a hair tie, ask the front desk for one. They usually keep them on hand for patients who forget to bring one.

Sports bra

Finally, it’s also advisable to wear a sports bra during your first physical therapy appointment. They’re often more comfortable and provide support during physical activity. You may also want to bring a water bottle and towel.

And that’s it! These are the clothes you can wear to physical therapy for your knee. Bottom line is, avoid wearing restrictive clothing or anything that’s too tight. Instead, focus on finding clothes that are comfortable, breathable, and won’t impede your movement. With the right clothing, you’ll be able to get the most out of your physical therapy sessions.

And if you book an appointment after work, be sure you bring your loose-fitting clothing and shoes before you leave the house. The physical therapy session can be difficult for both you and your therapist if you’re wearing office attire.

But if you’re not sure what to wear, feel free to ask your physical therapist for advice. They’ll be able to help you choose the right clothing for your needs.


Incorporate a forward-facing mindset

Wearing loose clothes allows you to move better. But more than that, the psychological impact of physical therapy exercises should not be underestimated. The mind-body connection is very powerful, and your mental state can have a significant impact on the success of your physical therapy. If you approach your exercises with a positive attitude and a willingness to work hard, you’ll more likely see positive results consistently.

On the other hand, if you adopt a negative mindset, you may find yourself struggling to make progress. That’s why it’s important to remember that celebrating small improvements can make a big difference in your overall health and well-being. With that in mind, it’s worth putting in the effort to maintain a positive outlook during your physical therapy journey.

Stay loose, feel loose

By wearing loose clothes and adopting a positive mindset, you’ll eventually come to enjoy and have hope in yourself during sessions.

Physical therapy can be a great way to recover from a knee injury. By following these tips on what to wear, you can ensure that you’ll be comfortable and able to move freely during your PT appointments and in daily activities.

If you’re interested in booking a PT session, contact a local therapist today to schedule an appointment! They will create a custom physical therapy plan tailored specifically for your needs.

About the Author

Hi there! I’m Dr. Keagen Hadley, OTD, OTR/L. Straight out of the University of Mary, I’m all about blending my know-how in knee health, well-being, and medical technology. As a licensed occupational therapy doc, I’m here to translate complex concepts into clear, actionable insights – whether it’s knee care or groundbreaking healthcare tech.

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