How Long Does Physical Therapy Usually Last?

November 24, 2022

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There are many factors in a recovery process involving physical therapy and several things you can do to speed your recovery.

How long physical therapy takes is a common question for many patients. Although the question is quite a simple one, it is complicated to answer. Remember, every person is different, and identifying your overall prognosis and length of physical therapy sessions depends on many factors. So how long does physical therapy take?

Unfortunately, there is no single correct answer to this question. Each person’s rate of healing varies. It may take one person only 3 days to walk 100 feet after knee surgery. However, a patient who had surgery on the same day may need 5 days to reach the same distance. This is due to the difference in pain perception, motivation, and healing rate.

Rather than setting a deadline to complete therapy, set various goals you would like to achieve during your rehab program. Focus on this, not on time. Reward yourself for achieving these goals, regardless of the time taken to reach them. Your physical therapist can help you set these physical therapy goals and can help you heal faster and keep you on track.

The Role of Motivation in Patient Success

Patients who are invested in their own well-being and health and want to understand their bodies are the ones who will feel better quicker. These patients will follow their physical therapy treatment plan Tampa, including the at-home exercises their physical therapist recommends between sessions, and they will see results much faster than they ever expected.

The patients who want the physical therapist to fix their bodies for them, and neglect their home exercises, are the ones who need many more sessions and will take longer to heal.

Also, the best patients communicate their symptoms and how they respond to physical therapy. If you track how your treatment affects your condition in between sessions, your physical therapist can better tailor your plan according to your lifestyle, pain level, and ability.

While your age and the severity of your injury can influence how your physical therapy session progresses, they are not the most significant factors contributing to success. Success is a two-way street: the more you invest in your treatment, the more you are rewarded. Your soft tissues will heal, and you can feel better.

Factor 1: Professionalism and Training of the Physical Therapist

Physical therapists help care for patients in all phases of healing, from the first physical therapy session to the restorative and preventive phases of recovery. Physical therapy may be a lone option or support other treatments.

Some patients are referred to a physical therapist by a physician, while others seek physical therapy themselves.

Physical therapists receive training that allows them to:

  • Conduct a physical examination and evaluation of a patient's movement, flexibility, muscle and joint motion, and performance. This includes finding out about their medical history
  • Give a clinical diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment plan with short- and long-term goals
  • Conduct physical therapy treatment and intervention
  • Give self-management tips, including an at-home exercise program

Apart from manual therapy, physical therapy treatment may involve:

  • Iontophoresis, which uses an electrical current to deliver certain medications, such as topical steroids. This can decrease the presence of inflammation.
  • Electrical stimulation (e-stim) stimulates muscular motor units to improve muscular engagement.
  • Heat, moist heat, and cold therapy may benefit a range of conditions.
  • Light therapy involves using special lights and lasers to treat certain medical conditions.


Factor 2: The Extent of the Injury

A major injury will typically require a longer time in physical therapy than a minor injury. Even if two people have the same type of injury, the one with the more serious damage will take longer to heal.

Factor 3: The Part of the Body that is Affected

Some areas of the body heal faster than others. For example, muscles tend to heal more quickly than tendons or ligaments.

Factor 4: The Level of Effort the Patient Exerts

Your physical therapist will help you through your exercises and teach you what to do, but you must do the work. The harder you try and the more effort you put forth, the faster your recovery time will be. But don’t overdo it. If you try to do too much before you are ready, you could do more harm than good.

Factor 5: The Healing Rate of the Patient

Everyone heals at different paces. There is no mathematical equation for the healing of the body. The amount of time you spend in physical therapy may be different than someone else’s, even if you have similar injuries.

Ideally, the team at your physical therapy clinic will evaluate each of these factors during your initial evaluation and give you a projected recovery timeline. Though no recovery timeline is set in stone, a good physical therapist can provide you with as close to an accurate estimated timeframe as possible so that you can plan your schedule accordingly.


As mentioned above, the body part affected partly contributes to the length of the physical therapy appointments. The healing rates of different types of tissues differ from one another. Here are the average healing times for different types of tissues:

  • Muscle can take up to 2-4 weeks
  • Tendon can take up to 4-6 weeks
  • Bone can take up to 6-8 weeks
  • Ligaments can take up to 10-12 weeks
  • Cartilage can take up to 12 weeks

Schedule a Physical Therapy Appointment at The Right Spinal Clinic to Start your Physical Therapy Session

Are you still wondering how long a typical physical therapy session lasts? If you don’t feel that you are making enough progress in your physical therapy session, you may need to go to a different physical therapist. Not all physical therapists use the same methods. Some use different techniques and equipment to help you get your desired results.

Physical therapy comes with several benefits and specialized management that can relieve you of your current symptoms and help you become stronger and feel better throughout the rest of your life.

Call (813) 392-2164 today to schedule your physical therapy appointment with us. We are looking forward to helping you make faster progress toward your physical therapy goals through our personalized treatment plan. We also accept walk-ins with NO WAITING TIME!

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