Sports Physical Therapy

Sports Physical Therapy

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If you've had a sports injury that affects a joint, tendon, muscle, or ligament, sports physical therapists are a vital part of your medical team. At Duke, our sports physical therapists work closely with orthopaedic surgeons and primary care doctors who specialize in sports medicine. We evaluate your sports injury and create a treatment plan that returns you to normal -- or, in some cases, improved -- activity as quickly and safely as possible.

Our Physical Therapists
Meet our sports physical therapists, view their profiles, and select the one that’s right for you.
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How Can Sports Physical Therapy Help Me?

Sports physical therapy can help you prevent or rehabilitate from a sports- or activity-related injury.

We work side by side with Duke sports medicine doctors in our sports medicine clinics throughout the Triangle. Our close interaction with your doctor means we work as a team to plan and provide your treatment. Depending on the severity of your injury, physical therapy may be the first treatment your doctor recommends. If your injury requires surgery, a sports physical therapist can help you prepare for surgery and oversee your physical rehabilitation after surgery.

Whether your goal is to walk your dog every day, play youth or collegiate sports, or return to professional sports, we will work with you to help you achieve your goals.

Our Locations
Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.


We do a comprehensive physical therapy evaluation to determine how your sports injury affects your range of motion, strength, and function. We then create a treatment plan and educate you on how to reach your realistic movement goals. Our services cover the full range of physical therapy treatments, including:

Traditional Physical Therapy Exercises

Your physical therapist may have you do exercises that focus on restoring your range of motion, strength, and proper biomechanics.

Dry Needling

A “dry” needle -- one without medication or injection -- is inserted through the skin into irritable parts of the muscle, known as trigger points, that are causing pain or muscle tightness and restriction. Dry needling can assist in pain relief and normalization of the body part.

Manual Therapy

Sports physical therapists who are certified in manual therapy use their hands to manipulate and mobilize joints. This decreases pain associated with muscle spasm and tension as well as pain related to joint issues.

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Soft-Tissue Mobilization

Sprains, strains, tendonitis, and other soft-tissue injuries may benefit from this type of manual therapy, which applies pressure and/or lengthens the affected tissue. Depending on the joint or injury, a variety of instruments may also be used as part of the therapy.

Postural Restoration

Manual techniques and specific exercises help correct your natural posture and movement patterns.

Low-Level Laser Therapy

Low-power lasers stimulate injured tissue and promote the healing process.





Consistently Ranked Among the Nation’s Best Hospitals
In addition, Duke University Hospital is proud to be named the best hospital in North Carolina, and nationally ranked in 10 adult and 9 pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report for 2019–2020.

Choosing Duke Sports Physical Therapy

Extensive Skills and Knowledge
Our therapists have skills and knowledge that cover the whole spectrum of sports physical therapy needs. Our sports physical therapists are specialists in age-specific concerns that can arise in young athletes or following joint replacement in older individuals. We have specialists who focus on activity-specific populations, including baseball pitchers, dancers, runners, throwers, and tennis players. In addition, we have staff trained in advanced physical therapy treatments such as concussion treatment, aquatic therapy, and dry needling.

Certified and Licensed Athletic Trainers
Credentialing ensures your physical therapist has the advanced skills needed to treat your injury. While all of our physical therapists are licensed physical therapists, 60 percent of our staff are also certified and licensed athletic trainers.

Board-Certified in Sports Physical Therapy
Eighty percent of our eligible staff members are board-certified by the American Physical Therapy Association in sports physical therapy.

Advanced Equipment
Our facilities contain the most advanced equipment, and our physical therapists are experts in the latest techniques and tools.

On-Site Care
Our physical therapists are on the field and in the training rooms at high schools and colleges, youth soccer leagues, and gymnastic programs throughout the region. When an injury occurs, we provide care on-site and arrange for care at a nearby Duke clinic.
We also offer walk-in orthopedic urgent care seven days a week in Durham, Apex, and Wake Forest.

Ongoing Research
Research conducted on-site at Duke Sports Medicine and throughout Duke assists us in being able to provide the best possible care.