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12 Best Gifts for Physical Therapists (2023)

Shopping for the perfect gift can be a challenge, no matter the occasion. Everyone wants to give a gift that will bring joy, happiness and make the recipient appreciate the thought of choosing it. When shopping for a physical therapist, in particular, the best thing to do is to look at their character traits and likes and dislikes, and use this as a general guide when shopping for deciding what to buy.

Some of the best gifts for physical therapists are wooden plyometric boxes, resistance bands, and hand gripper sets. Mugs, clothing, and calendars with PT related logos on them also make ideal gift items. A physical therapist will well receive anything related to physical health.

In this article, we will go over the many personality traits common to physical therapists. Next, we will briefly touch on the relevance of the occasion you are giving the gift for and some of the main gifts you want to avoid. Lastly, we will provide our readers with a comprehensive list of great gift suggestions for physical therapists and take the guesswork out of the equation.

The General Personality Traits of Physical Therapists

Regardless of their occupation, every person is unique, which is precisely why choosing a gift can be a tough task. Gifts are a direct reflection of how well we know a person’s interests, as well as their likes and dislikes. Admittedly, there is no one size fits all gift that will appeal to everyone universally. Still, individuals working in the physical therapy field tend to exhibit certain traits that can provide insight and help us search for the perfect gift.

This section will briefly discuss each one of these traits common to physical therapists and explain how this can translate into selecting the right gift.

Health Conscious

The first thing that likely comes to mind when we discuss physical therapists’ personality is health consciousness.

To become a registered physical therapist with legal eligibility to practice, an immense amount of studying is required. Physical therapists must possess comprehensive knowledge of anatomy, bone, muscle function, and the body’s physiological response to injury and repair via exercise.

It is more than fair to surmise that anyone who has attained this knowledge must have had some genuinely passionate interest in these areas. Those who are strictly money-motivated would be very likely to make it far. Therefore, physical therapist roles select for the truly passionate.

How does this factor into our gift decision? Simple. Try to give them something that they may use for exercise, stretching, or rehabilitation work. Some examples of health-related gifts are resistance bands, a set of hand grippers, or a jump box for performing step-ups.

Things related to diet and nutrition can also make great gifts for physical therapists and will never disappoint.

Caring and Sympathetic

Another of the most common traits amongst physical therapists is caring for and sympathizing with their clients.

Physical therapists who are unfriendly, cold, and lacking in genuine concern for the wellbeing and betterment of their clients will not last long in the field and will again be selected out. This is why we are safe to assume that they are very likely to be considerate if you meet a physical therapist.

Keeping this in mind, we can utilize this sympathetic element of the physical therapist’s nature to decide on a great gift. Things that can be kept in the therapist’s office to distract, entertain, and provide relief from the client’s suffering are, for example, funny desk or shelf ornaments, pins, posters, or buttons. These can be a great conversation starter and give the client some comedic relief.

Hard Working, Structured, and Organized

The last characteristic we will be discussing here is organizational and scheduling qualities.

Physical therapists are very time-oriented and organized individuals. If they weren’t, they would not be able to balance their hectic schedules.

Any gift you give to a physical therapist that can help them keep track of their daily routines and obligations will surely be invaluable and well-received.

Gifts to Avoid

Now that we have covered physical therapists’ characteristics—in hopes of jogging the imagination—it is now necessary to go over a few things not to buy and to stay away from.

Impractical and Useless Gift Ideas

This should go without saying, but surprisingly, most gifts that people give end up collecting dust not long after being given. Some never even make it out of the box.

Without a doubt, the most important thing to ask ourselves when buying a gift for anyone, not just physical therapists, is, are they going to use this?

Clothes are universal but can also be a bad idea sometimes. If you buy someone a red shirt, for example, and they hate the color red, it isn’t going to get much love. Clothes gifting ultimately comes down to how well you know the person and their style. If you are not confident in this department, choose a different alternative.

Perfume/cologne is another gift you should probably avoid unless you know the person. If you are close to the person you are buying the gift for, and you know for a fact that they will wear it, then it can be a great gift. Otherwise, avoid this one like the plague.

Again, like anything, it comes down to your closeness to the person. The less you know them, the more generalized your gift should be, like an Amazon gift card. Conversely, the more intimately you know the person, the more specific your gift should be, for example, a pair of boots.

Offensive Gifts to Avoid

One point worth briefly mentioning here is your gift’s appropriateness, in the sense that you never give anything that can be perceived as rude, vulgar, discriminatory, or offensive.

Sometimes in the quest to be funny, we can cross the line or rub people the wrong way. If we give a physical therapist a gift with some comedic element, like a funny mug, just tread carefully and make sure that it is appropriate.

The last thing that must be stated on this subject is not to over-gift a physical therapist. Suppose you are related to the person and giving them a gift as a close friend or family member, then you are free to spend as much money as you see fit. If you are simply a client of theirs and want to show how much you respect their work by gifting them as a nice gesture, avoid overspending. This can be perceived as a conflict of interest in certain circumstances.

Keep the Occasion in Mind

The occasion you intend to give the gift for will be a huge determinate on the gift choices you consider and ultimately settle on.

The main three reasons for gift-giving are special holidays, birthdays, and miscellaneous gestures of good-will such as giving a teacher a gift at the end of the semester, or gifting your child because they did well in school, etc.

Keep in mind while shopping so that your gift may be as relevant as possible to the purpose behind it.

F•R•I•E•N•D•S Themed Physical Therapist Shirt

This shirt, fashioned in parody to the classic 1990’s sitcom Friends logo, features the caption “Physical Trainer, I’ll Be There For You.”

This mildly humorous shirt will make a great gift for anyone who is a fan of the show or television in general.

The great thing about this shirt is that it is available in multiple different sizes and comes in over half a dozen colors. Hence, it is versatile enough to accommodate anyone.

This shirt is of the highest quality and is made from 100% cotton in solid colors, 50% cotton, and 50% polyester in heather colors.

Although it is not rude or obscene in any way, this sweater is not necessarily professional or formal, so wearing it to work will probably not be suitable depending on the dynamic of your job place. It is, however, perfect for around the house and running errands.

The kangaroo style pocket also makes this hoodie convenient for holding things like gloves, hats, water bottles, etc.

Ambor Resistance Band Set

The next great item on our list is the Ambor brand resistance band kit.

This set comes complete with four different bands, each with varying tension levels of 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 pounds, respectively.

Besides its incredibly affordable price, this set’s unique thing is that it comes with a series of different hooks and handles. This allows the bands to be anchored and different grips and muscles to be worked.

There is virtually no muscle that you cannot work with these bands, and for that reason, it can act as a substitute for a gym in certain instances.

Many individuals recovering from injuries are not ready to begin lifting conventional weights yet. Resistance bands can provide just the thing they need to stretch and build muscle without overdoing it.

This comprehensive article by Greatist.com provides a list of 33 different exercises that can be performed with resistance bands alone. Not only that, but they have also broken down step-by-step instructions on exactly how each exercise is to be performed. If you are considering these bands, this article mentioned above is a great resource to get you started on the right track.

Yes4All Wooden Plyometrics Box

This plyo box from Yes4All brand is the most cost-effective and quality wooden plyo box on the market.

Plyometric boxes can be used to perform a virtually endless amount of different exercises. Some of the most common exercises that plyo boxes are used to perform are:

Box jumps
Step-ups
Box squats
Bulgarian split squats
Tricep dips
Modified push-ups

This plyo box from Yes4All is extremely durable and designed to tolerate a lot of abuse, so you can be confident that it will not break on you during rigorous exercises.

Another cool thing about this box is that it comes in three different heights depending on the side you use. The heights of the sides are 12″,14″, and 16″, respectively. This gives the user a variety of different options and a goal to progress to.

Yes4All also offers this same box in three additional sizing options for the more experienced athletes. The first alternative is 16x18x20″, the second is 16x20x24″, and the last one is 20x24x30″.

This is a gift that any physical therapist is sure to love.

Torture Instructor Mug

This mug makes an ideal gift for anyone looking to give something small, useful, inexpensive, and at the same time thoughtful. The mug simply reads, “I’m a personal torture instructor, I mean physical therapist.”

Sometimes physical therapy can feel torturous, especially for the client, which is exactly why this mug is sure to garner some laughs.

Although physical therapy can sometimes seem tough and had to bear, the old saying” no pain, no gain” holds true in this profession.

The actual mug is 11oz, so it will hold just the right amount to satisfy our coffee connoisseurs. Furthermore, the manufacturer, Wonderful Mugs, also offers a 100% refund, no questions asked. This goes to show that they stand behind their product and guarantee durability and customer satisfaction.

Logest Brand Hand Grippers

Hand grippers are a simple yet highly effective tool that can be used for rehabilitation and strength building purposes.

Hand grippers rely on two handles and a spring of varying resistance that are to be squeezed together. This improves hand, finger, grip, and forearm strength and can even keep the elbows strong and healthy.

The best part of this Logest brand set is that it features not one, not two, but six total hand grippers! The lightest of the grippers is 100lbs, with each subsequently increasing by 50lbs, all the way up to 350lbs.

A physical therapist will have no trouble finding a good use for these grippers, and for the very low price, the derivative value of this product is extraordinary.

Camry Brand Dynamometer

Similar to our previous list entry, the Camry brand digital hand dynamometer is related to hand and grip strength. The difference is, where the grippers simply increase strength and health. The dynamometer provides a digital readout of the amount of force being applied by the grip.

This has many unique benefits for a physical therapist, such as warning them of any excessive left-right strength imbalances their client may have. It also gives them a point of reference from which to track and monitor improvements over time.

The Camry dynamometer also comes with a free 5-year warranty against all problems, so this is certainly a safe bet for a great gift idea.

Tumaz Foot Roller

The Tumaz foot roller is a cylindrical roller that features multiple ridges and bumps.

The purpose of this item is to roll the bottom of your foot back and forth across it, loosening up the fascia, releasing and smashing knots, and providing pain relief to the feet and ankles.

While this same goal can theoretically be accomplished with a tennis or lacrosse ball, the unique advantage of using the Tumaz foot roller instead is that its shape is specifically designed to contour to the arch of the user’s foot perfectly.

Breaking up chronic muscle knots with massaging pressure is a process known as myofascial release. Over time knots and scar tissue can build up and lock up our muscles to the extent that stretching alone can not mitigate. This is especially common following the occurrence of a serious physical injury. Physical injuries can cause the affected muscles to lock up to protect themselves from future injury, creating a negative pattern called synergistic dominance.

Put simply, synergistic dominance occurs when a certain muscle group or appendage performs extra work to compensate for another doing less work. For example, suppose a client has previously injured their knee. In that case, they may develop an unusual gait wherein they move the hip in an unconventional manner to avoid using the said knee. Over time this may translate to a hip overuse injury because our body moves and functions all as one unit (kinetic chain).

Tying all of this back into the Tumaz foot roller, the feet are the beginning of the anatomical kinetic chain because they are the part of the body in contact with the earth. What happens with our feet affects our knees, what happens with the knees affects the hip, what happens there affects the back, the neck, the shoulders, and so on.

We can now clearly see the importance of foot rolling regarding physical therapy. Factoring in the price and the 60-day money-back guarantee, this gift is sure to be a smash, no pun intended.

Trigger Point Grid Foam Roller

Piggybacking off the last entry, this foam roller works on a very similar principle as the Tumaz foot roller, by the application is much different.

The difference between the two is that while the foot roller is strictly confined to rolling out the feet’ muscles and fascia, the trigger point foam roller grid can massage virtually every muscle in the body.

The foam roller grid can be used to break up tight muscle tissue and improve joint range of motion in the:

Upper back
Chest
Glutes
Legs
Calves
Arms

This is also a great option for anyone who can not afford to visit a physical or massage therapist as much as they would like to and would benefit from getting a little bit of extra soft tissue work in on their own time, from the comfort of home.

Another great thing about this particular foam roller is that it is hard enough to create adequate pressure and loosen up the muscles. Still, it is not so excessively hard and pointy that the pain of rolling on it becomes intolerable, and all utility is lost. Some foam rollers are made from foam-like materials and are way too squishy to deepen the muscle belly. Others are over-the-top rough and jagged and are practically intolerable.

The Grid offers a great medium between the two extremes, and for precisely this reason, they are considered the foremost leader in the foam roller industry. The majority of other similar products are just knockoffs of this one, to be quite honest.

This gift is great for postural correction treatments too. The value you will get from this foam roller is hard to overstate.

There’s No Crying 2021 Calendar

This comedic 2021 calendar is a great gesture for gifting any physical therapist before the new year. The calendar features the caption “There’s No Crying in Physical Therapy” and would make for a hilarious addition to any therapist’s office.

However, this is more than just your average comedy calendar; it also features a journal element that is intended for organizational and commentarial purposes.

The calendar features the majority of holidays from all different regions and religions and birthdays and days of general significance.

This is an ideal gift option for anyone looking to not overspend, and it is a very casual gift, but at the same time, it will show that you care about the person you are giving it to and that you understand them on a deeper level.

Laws of Physical Therapy Notebook

This elegant notebook would be a great help to any physical therapist.

The 120 pages of this journal are lined and 11 x 8.5″ in size, making it very handy and convenient to take with you anywhere on the go and quickly jot down notes in.

Keeping notes can help a physical therapist remember all the details of each of their client’s circumstances and developments, record their progress or regressions, and readily take down any other relevant information before they forget it.

This journal also makes for a great side gift when given in addition to a larger and more prominent gift. Giving two gifts can often increase the likelihood of giving a very useful gift because it doubles the odds of one of them being a big hit.

Physical Therapist Hoodie

This unisex physical therapist hoodie is as comfortable as it is stylish and suitable for a physical therapist.

Available in black and heather grey, the design is simple, professional, and also very warm.

The classic black version of this hoodie is made from 80% cotton and 20% polyester, so the quality is exemplary.

This is a pullover hoodie, so it has no zippers or buttons. It is easy to wash with cold water and will not lose its shape or color over time. This PT hoodie also has drawstrings that can be used to tighten the hood and prevent wind from getting in around your neck and ears. So not only is this sweater fashionable and affordable, but it is also warm enough to get you through the winter with no issue.

One of the best features of this hoodie is its appropriateness for a large variety of different occasions. It is suitable for wear at the office, around the house, and any non-formal social gathering or outing.

Yes4All Balance/Stability Board

The Yes4All stability board is circular and crafted from wood, making it tough and effective for physical therapy purposes.

Balance boards consist of a standing platform to place your feet on and a rounded bottom to challenge the user’s balance while improving stability. Stability boards wobble in all directions while the user attempts to remain standing on it, making it extremely difficult to control.

Stability boards are incredibly effective for creating stability in the knees, hips, and ankles. For this reason, they are a very good therapeutic tool to have PT clients implement following an injury that has compromised their balance.

As the client progresses and remaining on the board gets easier, the exercise can easily be modified to increase the difficulty and elicit beneficial results. Some of the advanced modified variations of the wobble board may include standing with a single foot, standing with staggered feet, or squatting down as low as you can while standing on the balance board.

The first time a person uses a balance board, it will be unfamiliar to them, and safety should be considered a matter of concern. In the unfortunate event that someone were to lose their balance and stumble off the board, they run the risk of tripping, falling, or crashing into objects, which can cause even further damage to an already existing injury. Ensure that you stand with the client, help them on and off the balance board, and be there to catch them if they stumble.

Conclusion

In this article, we sought to outline the best 12 gifts for physical therapists.

The best gift for a physical therapist will be one that directly relates to health, organization, anatomy, or just everyday practical use.

Items such as resistance bands, foam rollers, balance boards, and plyo boxes make a great gift, as do clothes, calendars, and mugs.

Always try to avoid gifts that will sit in the box and collect dust. Understand the person and their needs before buying, and you can be sure your gift will be a big hit this year.

Plenty of Gift Ideas!

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