Sports Physical Therapy and Nutrition

By Dr. Sean M. Wells, DPT, PT, OCS, ATC/L, CSCS, NSCA-CPT, CNPT, Cert-DN

Sports Nutrition

One of the hottest terms in the last decade: sports nutrition. Ask any exercise scientists, personal trainer, or athletic trainer, and they will say that sports nutrition has become a booming topic of interest and a huge market. Physios may be behind the curve a bit on this topic, so we thought we'd offer a nice review of sports nutrition specific to sports physical therapy practice.

For PTs, the 3 main areas of sports nutrition we should be focused on would include:

  1. Recovery
  2. Immunonutrition
  3. Performance enhancement

Let's dive into each of these and see what PTs need to consider from a dietary perspective.


Helping athletes rehabilitate after an injury is an important role of a sports physio -- but what about recovering from resistance training, practice, or competition? Recovering from training and competition can translate into athletes gaining more strength, playing better, and...

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Geriatric Physical Therapy and Nutrition

By Dr. Sean M. Wells

Many facets of nutrition can impact older adults' function and health. The focus on this blog article will be to highlight how inflammation, which can be mediated via diet, impacts older adult function and health. 

Using the Dietary Inflammatory Index (DII), physical therapists can quantify the amount of inflammation a client's diet is provoking. Essentially the score ranges from as low as -5 to as high as 5, with a "fast food diet being reported at 4 and a macrobiotic diet being listed at -5. Probably the best diets on the DII are vegetarian Indian diets and other Asian diets rich in vegetables and spices. Another way of "scoring" or ranking the inflammation cause by a diet is to use an A-F system. An "A" score would be ideal and the most negative (e.g. close to -5, which is the least inflammatory), while "F" is the most inflammatory (e.g. most positive, 5). An average, or "C" score, would be a 0. 

 Using the DII, PTs can see how diet...

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A Gut Biome Credit Score?

By Dr. Sean M. Wells, DPT, PT, OCS, ATC/L, CSCS, NSCA-CPT, CNPT, Cert-DN

Continuing our series on gut health and the gut microbiome, we are going to talk about a new finding in the ever-expanding gut bacteria research: a gut biome health score.

Similar to how we have credit scores, which can denote whether a person has good or bad credit history, a gut biome health score may give physios and other healthcare providers insight into many facets of a patient's lifestyle.

Recall the gut biome is the bacteria, archaea, fungi, and some viruses that live within our small and mostly large intestines. These small bugs live in a symbiotic relationship with our bodies and:

  • Help to produce neurotransmitters (90% of serotonin is made by gut bacteria)
  • Process foods to make health short chain fatty acids (SCFA) which can improve cardiovascular health
  • Modulate the immune system response

The last factor likely has the biggest implications for physical therapists (PTs). As rehabilitation...

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Would You Eat Your Own Poop to Improve Your Health?

By Dr. Sean M. Wells, DPT, PT, OCS, ATC/L, CSCS, NSCA-CPT CNPT, Cert-DN

The gut biome has been all the rage for the last several years. If you haven't heard about the gut biome, then you either live under a rock or haven't researched about how your body works. The gut biome, often interchangeably called the gut microbiota or flora, are trillions of small bacteria, archaea, and fungi that live in your intestines. We have these critters all over our body (e.g. nose, hands, mouth) but the most reside in our gut. What these small bugs do for us is truly amazing.

Data show the microbiome is capable of protecting our immune system, producing healthy short-chain fatty acids, and could be linked to many disease states like cancer, heart disease, and allergies. Recently I began listening to a great podcast by Dr. Will Bulsiewicz on gut health on the Rich Roll Podcast. Dr B, as he's commonly known as, pronounced easy methods to protecting and nurturing our gut. Some of his top tips:...

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Top Nutrition Apps for Physical Therapists

By Dr. Sean M. Wells, DPT, PT, OCS, ATC/L, CSCS, NSCA-CPT CNPT, Cert-DN

Physical therapists (PTs) are stepping up their game and focusing on important in the clients' lives: social determinants of health (SDOH), wellness, alcohol and drug use, sleep, and nutrition. As we venture into a newer world of PT practice, clinicians need to be armed with useful tools and resources to help them along the way. Let's outline some of our team's favorite nutrition apps that have helped us help many clients.

Nutrition Guide for Clinicians

Published by the well-known Physicians' Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), the Nutrition Guide for Clinicians is a simple app that all Doctors of Physical Therapy (DPT) should have installed on their phones. The app allows a clinician to easily look up a condition or diagnosis, and then scroll through easily summarized data on simple nutrition tips that can contribute or treat the disease. Authors of the app list copious studies in their references...

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Physical Therapy and Alcohol: A Good Mix?

By: Dr. Sean M. Wells, DPT, PT, OCS, ATC/L, CSCS, CNPT, NSCA-CPT, Cert DN

Many people kickback and enjoy a cold beer or nice glass of wine with a meal or just to relax. But does alcohol consumption pose a risk to our health and physical therapy patients? The answer can be difficult to find amongst the literature, especially due to industry influence. Let's take a look at the guidelines, some upcoming revisions to alcohol intake recommendations, and what all this means to PTs and physical therapy outcomes.

Old Guidelines

Alcohol intake guidance varies depending on where you live. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Dietary Guidelines demonstrates that females should consume no more than 1 drink per day, while males can have 2 drinks per day. Most of this guidance is rooted in the fact that males usually have larger mass, and therefore, can physiologically "handle" more booze. Obviously all drinks are not created equal, so if  a person...

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Our Team Featured in Eat This Not That

It's exciting to see our team has been active in the community and online. Dr. Wells was featured in the online blog, Eat This Not That, over the past few years. Here are few excellent articles focused on nutrition, physical therapy, weight loss, and health.

Enjoy reading these articles and stay tuned for more!

If you like what you see here then know there is more in our 3 board-approved continuing education courses on Nutrition specific for Physical Therapists. Enroll today in our new bundled course offering and save 20%, a value of $60!


Download Your Copy of the Free E-Book:

Learn about the Top 5 Functional Foods to Fight Inflammation and Pain in Physical Therapy. 


Image source: Stock Catalog licensed by CC 2.0

Keywords: nutrition, continuing education, weight loss, PT, physical...

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Physical Therapy, Weight Loss, and Arthritis

By Dr. Sean M. Wells, DPT, PT, OCS, ATC/L, CSCS, NSCA-CPT, CNPT, Cert-DN

Weight Loss and Physical Therapy

Traditional physical therapy (PT) does an amazing job at treating dysfunction, pain, and problems. Preventative care and wellness, such as weight loss, was once taboo and often ignored by many physical therapists. However, today's Doctors of Physical Therapy (DPTs) are truly embracing more holistic treatments like nutrition, mindfulness, and sleep habits. Having physical therapy patients lose weight can help reduce inflammation, prevent health issues, and may improve PT outcomes. But what about stopping the weight gain in the first place? Weight gain prevention is vitally important, as it is much more difficult to lose the weight than it is to gain it. Given such interest in these topics, our team found it relevant to consider a recent study looking at weight gain and arthritis -- let's make the case for more PTs to start talking about patients preventing weight.

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Nutrition and PT Bundled Course Offering

Nutrition and Physical Therapy Bundled Course Offering!

Our team is excited to offer you all 3 of our courses now bundled into 1 easy purchase.  Save 20% off (Valued at $60) with this new offer

Why buy the bundle?

Work toward earning your CNPT® credential with one, easy discounted payment. 

Normally, our 3 Courses bought seperately cost $297. Save now and get all 3 courses for just $239. 

What is included?

Our three courses include the following board-approved online continuing education courses:

  • COURSE 1 - Introduction to Nutrition for PTs (IN)

    Need the basics to help guide your patients to making good, healthy choices that will improve their quality of life and outcomes? The Introduction to Nutrition is your course for Physical Therapy specific nutrition.

  • COURSE 2 - Nutrition Assessment and Prescription for PTs (NAP)

    Being able to assess a patient's diet and make concrete recommendations can make or break the difference in a...

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PTs: Do No Harm but What About Diet?

The Oath

As many PTs and healthcare providers know and affirm: first, do no harm. Taken from one of the most widely known Greek Medical Texts, this oath commits doctors and healthcare providers to offering their best in care. The more modern version of this oath expounds:

"I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant: I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow."

Many physical therapists (PTs) have taken a similar oath. In DPT schools around the country, many student PTs (SPT) swear an oath to provide their best care prior to going into internship or clinicals. Upon entering the profession and joining the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), we as PTs swear by the APTA code of ethics, which outlines: "Above all, do no harm." The APTA code of ethics also asks PTs to provide our best ability and judgement, among other requirements.


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