Episode 171 | How To Navigate Different PT’s For Your ACL Rehab

Show Notes:

In this episode, we tackle a question from an ACLer who is juggling multiple providers within their same clinic and feeling lost. We describe how to navigate this process so you can minimize the opportunity cost, how this compares to a house and project managers, trusting your gut, and steps to take control of the process yourself.

What is up team and welcome back to another episode on the ACL Athlete Podcast. Today, we are answering this topic of how to navigate different PTs or physical therapists, physios for your ACL rehab. For this ACL rehab process, you can even enter for PT or physio, any other rehab provider that fills in this role. But typically for, especially the ACL rehab process itself is usually a PT or a physio so that’s what I’m going to roll with for today. 

But this question comes from an ACLer where they are going to physical therapy in-person. And the way that it’s set up for them, they can often get mashed up with different physical therapists for their sessions. Or potentially, this also applies to maybe your provider, you start with, you don’t like as much. And they may be going on vacation or they’re sick so someone else has to step in and you like them better. But the initial provider returns and they’re technically the managing provider for your case. 

This principle applies of what we talk about today to both scenarios. But I want to talk about the first one specifically, because this is something that I do see in this space of ACL rehab, especially here in the U.S. healthcare system. With insurance, a lot of times there can be some rotating PTs who are just kind of filling in for the day, or maybe it’s your varying schedule. This is something that I want to make sure I answer for our ACLers who deal with this. And it’s especially something that we also see abroad too, because of socialized healthcare and certain medical systems is just they go in every two weeks, every four weeks and it’s just whoever’s there. 

You think about primary care, for example. You might have your own primary care provider, but if you don’t go that often, you probably just get in and see whoever you want to see. But these are one off situations, especially if it’s all right, let’s say you just got a cold or there’s a sickness and you’re not going to this provider that often, it’s just whoever can take you as long as they’re qualified professional, hopefully. But with that said, ACL rehab can be a little bit different. 

If we come back to this question here where it might be rotating professionals, if you will\, maybe one week it’s Pam; the next week it’s Dwight; the next one is Michael. Hopefully, you guys get my reference here. But they find one they might like better or jive with better. But then they start noticing some details are falling through the cracks. The physical therapists are just kind of rinsing and repeating if you will. And they’re constantly trying to play catch up because they’re also managing maybe two to three other people in the clinic at the same time and have 20 plus people on their caseload that day. 

The other thing that can also happen is whenever there’s a physical therapist and maybe an assistant or techs involved, a lot of times what can happen is PTs kind of check in and they might be there for 5 to 10 minutes. They might do some sort of assessment or manual work if you will, for a short period of time. A lot of this ends up coming down to billing more than it is what you need, probably. But with that said that happens. And then a lot of times you either pass to the assistant or the tech and they go through this and it could be someone who went through schooling to get their PTA license. Or it could be someone who is literally just a high schooler or a college student or maybe someone who’s can fill in that technician role that literally doesn’t have to have many qualifications outside of existing as acumen and can follow directions. And this is something that we see a lot of times.

I’ve even served as a tech myself at physical therapy clinics. Whenever I was going through the process of applying to physical therapy school and I saw so many different models of the insurance-based system and the way that this operates and the things that I was able to do and things I wasn’t able to do. And so whether it’s assistance or texts filling in for those pieces, especially the exercise prescription aspect. And maybe it’s some of the stuff you do at home, or maybe it is rotating physical therapists that you’re actually working with. This can be hard because there are so many people to manage. There are usually a high volumes of clinics, especially if we’re talking about insurance-based because they’re trying to get people in. It’s for reimbursement purposes. These are things that can just make things fall through the cracks versus there’s this one-on-one direct attention, or even like two per hour. For example, if it’s set up and structured appropriately. And I’m not saying that one-on-one is the only way. There are plenty of friends I have in clinics and companies I know that do this incredibly well, but they have built-in systems and if they are passed off to somebody else, it is legit qualified professionals who can carry the torch, who can continue this process. But a lot of times, the struggle is it’s just rotating people who are trying to play catch up. 

This is corporate PT in a nutshell. And while I’m not saying it’s all bad, as I had mentioned, it’s hard to provide good solid individualized care. In settings like this, especially with insurance sometimes. And so bouncing between the different providers is hard for such a long recovery process where reinjury risk is also at stake. I know I use a lot of house analogies for this podcast. I think it just relates so well because you are in this process of building this home. You’re trying to build a foundation. You’re trying to build the infrastructure of it. You’re trying to build the internal of it. And no details can be left behind because then therefore you’re going to be living in this thing. Or maybe you’re selling it or having it rented. The last thing you want is liability of this house coming to crash down. You want to make sure you check all of the corners of this and there’s testing. That’s done. There’s different detailed step by step processes. My parents are actually going through this process right now. It is crazy the number of steps to get things approved through different phases and it relates so well to this ACL rehab process. 

But coming back to this house analogy, I want you to imagine you’re building this house. And each week when you’re checking in on the progress or the company calls you to relay what they’ve done, you have a rotating project manager who’s managing, let’s say 50 homes, 100 homes. They’re rotating so it’s not the same person every single week. They’d have to play catch up constantly to review the notes of where the houses are at. And you’d feel a bit more nervous as the home buyer and watching them build this home. And this project manager comes on here. And they are different people every single week. It’s almost hard to find your stride. And for them to know all of the pieces along in this process versus having one solid project manager through the whole process, like a single GPS system. Then they know okay, where you were at before. And they know who you are as a person to communicate, hopefully well. They’re able to update you and know what happened the previous week, what happened in that week, what’s the plan ahead versus if you’re filling in, then therefore you got to look at the notes. You got to communicate with the people. And a lot of times, because it’s not just a single home or a single person, there’s volumes of people. 

What happens is, details get lost and they fall through the cracks. This is the same thing that happens in ACL rehab where there needs to be one person being the GPS. Sure, there can be others in/on the journey assisting, it’s a team-based effort. And even with providers we work with, so if our athletes are working with us remotely, we work with their physical therapist, coach, trainer, whoever it is to help make sure it’s a team-based effort. 

And we’re actually trying to make sure we’re all on the same page as much as possible, or they’re the direct medium for us. And then that way we make sure the plan is going as appropriately until it is something that may be is conflicting or too many cooks in the kitchen. But this is something we share with all of our athletes, because they may want some in-person support and they want us to steer the ship if you will, through this process because of our background and expertise. 

And so the thing is, is that there needs to be one person ultimately being this GPS. And as I mentioned others being in on this, but we don’t want things to get lost in translation or fall through their clacks because there’s rotating PTs who don’t see the full journey or potentially your history. We want to make sure we can kind of see this through. And it doesn’t need to necessarily be beginning to end, especially with the way that this works with insurance where skillsets serve their roles.  Maybe you’re passing off to a coach in the mid to late stages potentially. But with that said, there needs to be one person overall helping to guide this, if you will. But then there can be the team who is inserting details and context, to be able to steer the ship. 

How to navigate this situation? It can be tough, right? Because we don’t want to hurt people’s feelings. We want to be sensitive. iI’s been a process so there are a lot of things that factor into this. Well, first I do recommend starting with a conversation with your provider or whoever’s in charge. Even if it’s that rotating PT situation, have a conversation with them or with one of them, at least to start that ball to get it rolling. This is the thing that you want to make sure to share your concerns, honestly. If it’s hard for you to do that, then I would almost question the provider and what environment they have set up for you. Because any of our athletes, we hope that they can share anything openly that maybe you concerning them or something that’s on their mind. We don’t create this barrier of like, “Hey, like whatever we say, go.” Open up a conversation, ask questions and address your concerns that you’re feeling. As I mentioned any good PT or provider and company will understand what you’re sharing and likely to agree. Especially if you’re noticing something that is to the detriment of your recovery. And see if there’s a way to have one person leading the journey. If you have this rotating physical therapist, then maybe you can have one person who’s leading the show and then maybe that’s someone that you trust, who’s great at communicating, who can provide a structured plan goals for you targets to aim for. For both short and long term, who does testing and provides research and evidence that is needed to kind of be embedded in the process and most importantly helps educate you on where you’re at in the process. 

I was talking to an athlete and a parent the other day. And our goal with our education is to set you up for success, to make sure that you feel confident in your process and each step that you take. But also very important to make sure that we are being proactive about things versus reactive. There’s so many things that I see that just gets missed through a lack of education. And it could have been told on the front end and it could’ve been completely avoided. And you were able to be proactive about it versus reactive. And then now you have to take time away or take a step back or it’s just disrupting life in the process altogether. 

Education is key and most importantly, providing guidance, being that GPS for you, especially when things don’t go as planned. Because they will, at some point in the ACL rehab process. It might mean adjusting your own schedule to make this happen with that particular provider because they’re rotating schedule. You’re trying to figure that out. It might mean finding a different clinic or provider altogether local to you. It might mean doing it remotely, because anything locally to you doesn’t fit the bill of what you’re looking for. Your insurance doesn’t really cover great clinics close to you. You’re just feeling like you’re not getting what you need.

And once I know that I do want to share here and mention is that athletes will often feel “stuck” because they’ve had this history with the provider or that they’re nice, the nice PT, if you will. Going back to the project manager, building your house, you’re going to live in or maybe rent out. So you’re liable for it. Would you stay with that project manager? Just because they’ve been with you from the start. Or you get along with them, but they suck at their job. Or there, just not gray, you’re not getting that feeling of like they’re doing what they need to be doing. It’s in your gut and you know that. And maybe you do get along with them. 

But the thing is, is that they’re not doing their job very well. It almost puts you in a harder place because they’re such a nice person. But at the end of the day, you got to live in a house or rent a house out and you’re on the line for that. So that’s going to be really important. So you’re not going to just deal with that provider or that project manager just because they’re nice. 

Absolutely not. So the same thing goes here. It’s your health, it’s your opportunity cost and you don’t want to do that. You want to make sure you make the most of every single day in time that you’re there. You don’t have to question things. There’s no sense in compromising your results and recovery for, especially your mental health and physical health. Because of history with a provider or maybe because it’s the easiest route, especially if they’re just right down the road. Pick what is the best for you? Pick something that you would take, whether you’re a parent you would take your kid, too, if you are. A sister brother, your sibling to your grandparent too, your best friend to write. Think about who you would share that person with in terms of, all right, is this the best route for them? Or should they make a change? Think about it in the sense of them instead of you and see if your answer would be different. If it is different then it sounds like you need to make some changes.

Coming back around to navigating different providers, communicate with them, make sure to ask questions. There shouldn’t be any guarding, unless you’re just being rude. Don’t be rude. But with that said, there should be welcoming of questions or any concerns, and they should hear you out and propose solutions. And see if you can solidify that one person to steer the ship and not alternate, because that can get really confusing and I would hate that. 

That just is not fun. And you want to make sure that there is alignment and the process and details are not falling through the cracks. And if you need to make the switch to a different clinic, to remotely, whatever it is, do it, do what’s in your best interest, especially if your gut is telling you, you need to make a change. 

This is a massive opportunity costs, if not. And I see so many ACLers get stuck in this process. And so I just wanted to tackle this topic for today. I’ve talked about a different podcast episode of the “nice PT”. And it’s something that people really do get stuck with and then they’re three months out to six months out. It’s the easiest thing because their insurance probably covers it. They “know” their history. They’re good enough if you will, but you might not know what just as better is. So that’s the thing that I want you to factor into these decisions, especially with navigating different PTs, providers through this process, because it’s a long process. And you can just leave it up to chance. 

I always tell you guys. This is something that you need to reduce your risk as much as possible. And that’s going to be with an ACL expert in your corner, to be able to make sure they can guide this process, test your appropriately, make your plan as individualized as possible. So you can feel as confident as you can getting back to who you want to be and what you love to do.

If this is something what you’re struggling with, I hope you’re able to do something about it. If you need any help, you know where to find us. Two things we’re doing that I want you guys to participate and if you’re up for it. One is that you can find a form that is. podcast questions or topics that you can basically submit to me. And we will work on trying to answer them. I know I get questions all the time or things people want me to talk about. I do want to make sure that I open this up to all of you who support and listen. So you can find that in the show notes, there’s also a way to text directly to the podcast. It’s our podcast platform. That’s pretty awesome. And so basically you could send over a message. So any wins, anything that you’ve gained from this podcast, maybe just a special message of some sort that you want me to read. That’s also available in the show notes. 

So that would be awesome if you guys could just take part in that. We’re going to look to continue to level up this podcast as much as we can. Until next time team, this is your host, Ravi Patel, signing off.

Subscribe and leave The ACL Podcast a review – this helps us spread the word and continue to reach more ACLers, healthcare professionals, and more. The goal is to redefine ACL rehab and elevate the standard of care.



  • Check out our free ebooks on our Resources page
  • Sign up for The ACL Athlete – VALUE Newsletter – an exclusive newsletter packed with value – ACL advice, go-to exercises, ACL research reviews, athlete wins, frameworks we use, mindset coaching, blog articles, podcast episodes, and pre-launch access to some exciting projects we have lined up
  • 1-on-1 Remote ACL Coaching – Objective testing. An individualized game plan. Endless support and guidance. From anywhere in the world.
  • More podcasts? Check out our archives




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

1:1 Coaching   |   Performance Testing   |   Clear Plan   |   Custom Program   |   Return to Sport   |   Community   |   Education   |   Goal Setting   |   Progress Tracking   |   Step by Step Guidance   |   Athlete Support   |   1:1 Coaching   |   Performance Testing   |   Clear Plan   |   Custom Program   |   Return to Sport   |   Community   |   Education   |   Goal Setting   |   Progress Tracking   |   Step by Step Guidance   |   Athlete Support   |   1:1 Coaching   |   Performance Testing   |   Clear Plan   |   Custom Program   |   Return to Sport   |   Community   |   Education   |   Goal Setting   |   Progress Tracking   |   Step by Step Guidance   |   Athlete Support   |   1:1 Coaching   |   Performance Testing   |   Clear Plan   |   Custom Program   |   Return to Sport   |   Community   |   Education   |   Goal Setting   |   Progress Tracking   |   Step by Step Guidance   |   Athlete Support   |   1:1 Coaching   |   Performance Testing   |   Clear Plan   |   Custom Program   |   Return to Sport   |   Community   |   Education   |   Goal Setting   |   Progress Tracking   |   Step by Step Guidance   |   Athlete Support   |   1:1 Coaching   |   Performance Testing   |   Clear Plan   |   Custom Program   |   Return to Sport   |   Community   |   Education   |   Goal Setting   |   Progress Tracking   |   Step by Step Guidance   |   Athlete Support   |   1:1 Coaching   |   Performance Testing   |   Clear Plan   |   Custom Program   |   Return to Sport   |   Community   |   Education   |   Goal Setting   |   Progress Tracking   |   Step by Step Guidance   |   Athlete Support   |   1:1 Coaching   |   Performance Testing   |   Clear Plan   |   Custom Program   |   Return to Sport   |   Community   |   Education   |   Goal Setting   |   Progress Tracking   |   Step by Step Guidance   |   Athlete Support   |   1:1 Coaching   |   Performance Testing   |   Clear Plan   |   Custom Program   |   Return to Sport   |   Community   |   Education   |   Goal Setting   |   Progress Tracking   |   Step by Step Guidance   |   Athlete Support   |   1:1 Coaching   |   Performance Testing   |   Clear Plan   |   Custom Program   |   Return to Sport   |   Community   |   Education   |   Goal Setting   |   Progress Tracking   |   Step by Step Guidance   |   Athlete Support   |   1:1 Coaching   |   Performance Testing   |   Clear Plan   |   Custom Program   |   Return to Sport   |   Community   |   Education   |   Goal Setting   |   Progress Tracking   |   Step by Step Guidance   |   Athlete Support   |   1:1 Coaching   |   Performance Testing   |   Clear Plan   |   Custom Program   |   Return to Sport   |   Community   |   Education   |   Goal Setting   |   Progress Tracking   |   Step by Step Guidance   |   Athlete Support   |   1:1 Coaching   |   Performance Testing   |   Clear Plan   |   Custom Program   |   Return to Sport   |   Community   |   Education   |   Goal Setting   |   Progress Tracking   |   Step by Step Guidance   |   Athlete Support   |   

Remote ACL Rehab + Coaching

No more feeling lost. No more settling for what’s down the road. No more letting your insurance be in control.

You deserve the best care.
That’s why we created this.
Just for you.

Our ACL coaching has been tried and tested by hundreds of ACLers. Rehab and train with us from anywhere in the world. No matter where you are in the process.

In-Person ACL Rehab + Coaching

Live near Atlanta? Wanting to take your ACL rehab to the next level with in-person visits? Wanting to work with someone who’s gone through this process twice themselves?

Say less.

This is a ACL rehab and coaching experience like you’ve never experienced before.

Close this search box.