7 Useful Items Physical Therapists Always Keep At Home

Treat sore muscles, reduce pain and promote movement at home with these expert-backed picks.
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Last month, I started physical therapy to treat my very painful jumper’s knee, aka patellar tendinitis. During these sometimes intense sessions, my therapist recommends stretches and exercises I can do at home to keep up my progress and aid recovery. One of these stretches involves using a resistance loop to loosen up my hamstring and calf muscles.

After finding success using the resistance loop a couple times at home, I began to wonder what other easy-to-get items physical therapists use to help with their own mobility or healing. To find out, I reached out to a couple licensed physical therapists to ask them what items they always keep in their homes that are useful for them and their patients.

They provided a variety of tools, including massagers, exercise balls, an actually sturdy yoga mat and even a personal lubricant recommended by a therapist who specializes in pelvic floor physical therapy. Check them out below.

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1
A round foam roller
Lisa Mitro, a Virginia-based physical therapist who specialized in helping runners, always keeps a round foam roller at home to stretch out and soothe muscles.

"I keep this at home because not only is it great for self-massage, it can also double as an exercise tool. They are relatively cheap and easy to find!" Mitro said.

Foam rollers are lightweight and often used for balance, strengthening, flexibility and rehab exercises. They come in various sizes, including 12, 18, 24 and 36 inches. The one included here comes in blue, blue speckled, black and purple speckled colors.
2
Fit Simplify resistance loops
Resistance loops are another physical therapy essential Mitro keeps in her home. They're most often used for leg, knee and back injuries, but they can also be used for general exercise, stretching and strength training.

"I love using resistance loops in my strength workouts so I can focus on muscle stability with a little extra resistance," Mitro said.
3
Rad Rounds
Melissa Oleson , a physical therapist, registered yoga instructor and integrative nutritional health coach, keeps Rad Rounds on standby at home. These balls relieve aches and pains associated with conditions like plantar fasciitis and myofascial pain. They're designed for targeted massaging use, so you simply rub one around in circular motions on the affected areas for relief.

"Rad Rounds are essentials in my house to help keep me moving, work on my mobility, and trigger point trouble spots to help combat that forward posture we get from being behind our devices or as recovery tools from workouts," Oleson said.
4
B Yoga's B Strong mat
According to Oleson, having a good yoga mat is also important in promoting everyday mobility. The B Yoga strong mat is 6 millimeters thick and made with 100% non-slip rubber.

"I love a yoga mat (B Mat Strong) as a subtle reminder for you to move throughout the day which aids in easing tension, getting rid of stress, building strength and flexibility, and most importantly gaining confidence in your body," Oleson said.

It's designed for traction, stability and grip to stay in place for all of your movements. It comes in nine colors including beetroot, saffron, black, deep purple and ocean green, and in lengths of either 71 or 85 inches.
5
A Trideer exercise ball
For Monica Frydach, a Wisconsin-based physical therapist and founder of Moving Like A Mother, an exercise ball comes in handy as part of an everyday routine.

"An exercise ball is a great alternative to sitting on a chair as it promotes core activation and better posture. I use it for exercise, core strengthening, stretching, pregnancy and more," Frydach said.
6
A Thera Cane massager
This cane-shaped massager eliminates muscle knots and has six attached treatment balls for targeted body massaging.

"This is a convenient tool for working out tension and muscle knots that sit in hard to reach places of the shoulders and upper back. I love to use it while watching TV at the end of a long day. Easy to use and great for anyone who works a desk job," Frydach said.
7
Slippery Stuff lubricant
Physical therapist Kristin Sapienza founded FemFirstHealth, a New York-based practice that specializes in pelvic floor physical therapy for women who suffer from pelvic pain, pain with sex or recovering from childbirth. She finds Slippery Stuff lubricant to be helpful to the patients that they treat.

"Sometimes extra lubricant can be stigmatized as if 'you need extra help.' But it comes very much in handy to have in your nightstand to prevent soreness from too much friction and improves sensation on both ends or for single play. It also increases pleasure and achieves a better chance of reaching an orgasm as well as enhancing it," Sapienza said.

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