Research and Interventions

Physical therapists apply the latest research related to restoring function, reducing pain, and preventing injury. As a health care professional, you may be interested in some of the latest research on the impact a physical therapist can have on specific conditions and injuries.

ACL Prevention

A study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine (August 2008) evaluated outcomes of NCAA Division 1 female soccer players who performed the Prevent Injury, Enhance Performance (PEP) program, designed by physical therapists at Santa Monica (CA) Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Group. Those who performed the PEP program had an overall ACL injury rate 41 percent lower than a group of female athletes who did their regular warm-up. This was one of the largest studies conducted in the NCAA with 1,435 athletes participating. Read full article.

Osteoarthritis of the Knee

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (August 2008) found that physical therapy, combined with comprehensive medical management, is just as effective at relieving the pain and stiffness of moderate to severe osteoarthritis of the knee as surgery. Read full article.


A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine (February 2008) which included 96 randomized controlled trials and three systematic reviews from 1990 through 2007, concluded that pelvic floor muscles training and bladder training resolved urinary incontinence in women, as compared to drug therapy, electro stimulation, medical devices, injectable bulking agents, and local estrogen therapy.  Read full article.

Low Back Pain

  • According to a 2006 study in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy (JOSPT), 92% of patients who met criteria of a specific clinical prediction rule showed improvement in low back pain with lumbar spine manipulation. Read full article
  • In a study published in Spine (July 18, 2008), active physical therapy for patients with acute low back pain was associated with better clinical outcomes, decreased use of prescription medications, MRI and epidural injections, and lower healthcare costs than passive physical therapy. 
    Active physical therapy for acute low back pain is cost effective and decreases the need for prescription medicine. Read full article.


A study published in Physical Therapy (November 2008) found that patients with diabetes who participate in a program combining aerobic and high-force eccentric resistance exercise demonstrated improvements in glucose control, physical performance, and body fat composition. Read full article.

Physical Therapy in the ICU

A study published in Lancet (May 2009) demonstrates the effectiveness of early physical therapy for patients in a medical intensive care unit. Read full article.

Total Knee Replacement

A study published in Physical Therapy (May 2008) indicates that patients who have undergone total knee arthroplasty (TKA) need to relearn the proper techniques of moving from a sitting to standing position. Researchers believe that most patients, after living with pain for years, had developed different strategies to avoid using their weakened quadriceps femoris muscle. Read full article., the official consumer Web site of the American Physical Therapy Association, ©[2017]