a physiotherapists hands completing physiotherapy on a wrist

How To Improve your Physiotherapy Patients' Exercise Adherence

Written by Joe Rixon

It is no secret that getting people to exercise is not an easy thing. I have had many physio patients tell me that they don’t exercise but they go on to say very enthusiastically how they enjoy exercise. The main reason why people don’t want to exercise is because of the reasons below. The good news is, there are ways you can improve exercise compliance for your physiotherapy clients!

As a physiotherapist, you know how important it is for your patients to do their home exercises. Studies show that doing regular home exercises is one of the key predictors of a positive outcome after physiotherapy treatment, regardless of what kind of condition the patient has. Poor compliance with exercise programs has been linked with a number of factors, including:

  • Patients not understanding why they need to do the exercises
  • Patients not knowing how to do the exercises properly
  • Not having enough time
  • Not feeling motivated enough to do them
  • Missing appointments and forgetting about them

Your patients are not always as aware of this, however. It can be hard to motivate them to do their exercises on a daily basis – or at all. Don't worry, it's not just your patients who fail to do their exercises. According to one study, only 44% of patients were compliant with their prescribed physio exercise plan. So how can you improve their compliance?

A common reason for poor compliance is that patients found the exercises too difficult or too complicated. Another key finding was that in general, the more complicated an exercise was, the less likely a patient was to carry it out properly. For example, 31% of people couldn't remember how often to do the exercises, and 28% couldn't remember the correct order or sequence to do them in.

Making sure your patients are doing their exercises is a massive challenge that deserves more attention from the physiotherapy industry. There are already some great digital solutions for exercise compliance, but until now none of them have been designed specifically for physios and physical therapists.

If you're a physiotherapist or sports masseuse, your patients' compliance is essential to their recovery. You can treat them for an hour a week, but the rest of their time is spent doing exercises or stretching. If they don't do it properly, you could be wasting your time and theirs.

This has been the problem facing physiotherapists for years. Take a look at the notes from one physio's session with a patient:

"No improvement in condition. Patient completing exercises 3 times per week."

The trouble is that, while the patient may think they are completing their exercises correctly, there's nothing stopping them from missing out crucial parts of the routine - or just not doing it at all!

With Extensor, physios can upload videos of each exercise onto their app so that patients can view them at any time. They can also use the video feature to record the patient performing the exercise and send it to them as additional feedback on how to improve.

Our challenge is making it as easy as possible for patients to do their exercises outside of the clinic. We need to make it fun, engaging and convenient.

Extensor helps physiotherapists achieve these goals by enabling them to create videos of their patients doing an exercise the right way. Patients can then watch these videos on their mobile phones or tablets and log how many times they do each exercise, when they did it and even create a video of themselves completing the exercise.

Extensor allows physios to have all the information about a patient's progress, performance and adherence rate at their fingertips and quickly identify problems. This helps to motivate patients, makes sure they know how to complete the exercises properly and helps them to make the most of the great exercise plan you created for them.

With Extensor on your side, you'll be able to make sure your patients are getting stronger faster and feel confident knowing they aren't putting themselves at risk of further injury or slowing down their recovery process by doing the exercises incorrectly.

About Extensor

Extensor, a start-up founded on a physiotherapist’s table in Innsbruck and now headquartered in London, is developing a suite of apps to help physiotherapy patients get back to full health faster than ever. By promoting digitalisation in physical therapy practices, they are improving lines of communication between patient and therapist to ensure every patient gets the personalised treatment they require and can make the most of their trusted therapist’s expertise. Their innovative apps for therapists and their patients have been created for both Android and iOS and come with a no-strings-attached 30-day free trial. Find more information and get Extensor for your mobile device at www.extensor.app.