Top 20 apps for therapists – Revolutionise your practice
Recent advances in technology and creative therapist and app designers are beginning to revolutionise traditional therapy as we know it. It is opening up new ways to gather data, interact with and manage our patients, enhance the ways that we can educate them to improve clinical outcomes and overall just making our jobs just that little bit easier.
Here are the Functional Movement Group’s Top 20 apps to enhance your practice:
1. Dartfish / Hudl
These two apps are some of the best and easiest to use video analysis tools on the market. Pair them with an Apple TV and a large screen and you have a great tool to gather more objective information about your patients. While the accuracy of these tools isn’t overly high quality and definitely not in the same league as a biomechanics lab, they still can provide some useful information to help you better understand how your patient moves.
Being able to slow down the speed of movement can help the therapist to analyse a patients movement a lot easier. Combining this qualitative information with quantitative measurements of angles, speeds and distance can also give you some useful measures. The ability to do side by side views of pre/post treatment/rehab videos or of changes as a result of techniques cues can be meaningful for the patient. The recent additional of cloud storage on both these services, patient/athlete tagging and the ability share the videos with the patient, medical staff, their trainer or coach opens up a new way to communicate with the patient/athletes team to ensure everyone is working on the same page.
Pasco’s Sparkvue app is the perfect companion for your force plate. With force plates becoming cheaper and more affordable for the clinician and their ability to provide new and important qualitative and quantitative data that could only hypothesized by the clinician previously, this app is a real game changer, especially for those who perform the full spectrum of Functional Performance Testing. The ability to export the data in various formats, upload it into your clinical notes, or screenshot the visual graph represent make it the perfect tool to refer back. The ability to pair any iPhone/iPad with Sparkvue means you can leave your patients to use these as a biofeedback tool as well. Some meaningful data you can gather with your force plate and
o Peak and average force
o Peak and average power output
o Peak velocity
o Maximum rate of force development
o Starting strength
o Flight to contact ratio
If you’re interested in purchasing a force plate, contact us at the Functional Movement Group at [email protected]
3. Map my run / ride
This is just one example of the many GPS based activity tracker apps that many of your patients and athletes will already be using on their smart devices. Tracking workload and measuring the amounts and changes in it can often be very difficult, however with Map My Run or similar applications, it becomes easy to monitor training and any spikes in load. These apps can also be used for pacing of activities such as walking, running or cycling post injury or with chronic pain patients. Note and feedback sections in these apps also allow you to see how your patient was feeling and allow them to note when their symptoms came on. Biofeedback using these apps can be useful in rehab as well, giving instant feedback about pacing, distances and speeds
4. Iron path pro
Use Iron Path Pro to trace barbell movement for any of your powerlifting or weightlifting exercises. Breakdown and analyze the movement of the bar using video tracking technology to find where you can make improvements.
5. Swing profile
For those who work with golfers, swing profile is a neat addition to any assessment or training program. Not only can you analyse each individual swing, but you can track progression and changes, and even compare against the professionals. It allows you to work with your patient to refine club head path, speeds and angles.
6. Fitness meter / Sprint Meter / Speed Clock / SeeLevel / JumpPower
This developer’s apps are ones we have only discovered recently at the Functional Movement Group, but their potential to make our job a lot easier is very exciting.
– Fitness meter
o Flying sprint
♣ Measures point to point distance, automatically starting a stopping
o Sprint and shuttle
♣ Allows you to sprint time and even take a photo finish to measure the time for each individual. It also takes a photo of each lap on shuttle type tests, to allow you to run large groups and objectively measure how each participant completed the test. You can also record each lap/split times that will allow you to convert to m/s for assessment and training purposes.
o Vertical jump
♣ A quick and simple way to measure vertical jump, without the need of a vertical jump measurement kit. Simply select the starting point on the patient prior to jump, then ask them to jump as high as possible and move the second marker to the same point at the top of the jump, to get your recording in centimetres.
♣ Are you like us and always forget where you’re up to counting repetitions for assessment or training? You don’t need to worry, simply set up the app and the finish point and this app with count each repetition for you…GENIUS.
o Beep test
♣ Pair the beep test sounds up with the shuttle monitor and have the laps and finish positions recorded for you to accurately measure submax aerobic capacity of your patient.
– Sprint timer
As with the sprint function is the fitness meter app, this app takes it one step further with three ways of recording the finish point depending on the test you are performing and your preferred method:
o Photo finish: still shot
o Video finish: slow motion video
o Motion finish: multiple shots joined together
– Speed clock
o Want to know how fast your patient can throw, hit or kick as ball. This neat app can provide some guide without the need for expensive speed radars.
– SeeLevel: similar to clinom, see below
– JumpPower: measures jump power through equations
Convert your submax strength testing numbers into 1RM. Determine training program loads and desired rep ranges from strength testing data for specific indivudally tailored programming.
This app is from the NOIgroup, one of the world’s leading pain education and research organizations, headed up by David Butler and Lorimer Moseley. Recognise allows you to assess and accurately measure and train an individual’s ability to discriminate between left and right as part of a graded motor imagery rehabilitation program. This app can produce some surprising results, both for the therapists and the patients and greatly enhances buy-in to chronic pain management programs.
One of the quickest, simplest and smartest looking video exercise prescription apps we’ve found. With Phydeo, you can setup clean and professional looking, custom branded templates for your clinic. You can then just point and shoot your exercises and send directly to your patients from your device. This is by far easiest and quickest to use app to prescribe a HEP of the patient performing their own individually tailored exercises. No more boring generic exercise pictures or videos. Phydeo can help Increase adherence to their HEP, improve their technique and the way they go home and perform their program, with individual cueing (written or verbal). It gives the patient the ability to perform the exercise as you intended it to be performed, as they can visualize their own body performing exercises to help increase the learning effect. Phydeo is still new to the market, we would love to see them integrate the ability to:
o Monitor patient workload, RPE, pain levels, how they are feeling
o Select numbers for reps, sets instead of having to individually type them in
o Allow communication between therapist and patients to keep communication lines open to further increase adherence to their program
Gomotive is without doubt, the most complete and functional app out there for exercise prescription. It can be a little bit difficult to learn for the patient initially and there are a few too many steps for patient to record their data and for the therapist to film your own custom videos, however I have been assured that they are working to update it to make this process easier. Gomotive also gives you the functionality to market to and communicate with patients, seeing how patient is feeling, exactly how many sets/reps/ sessions the patient is performing during the week, giving you power to update their program on the go and get the desired results as quick as possible. It even sends reminders them when they are due to do their exercises. It’s reporting functions are also second to none, with great visual graphs to monitor individuals.
Throw away that old goniometer, inclinometers make it quick and simple to gather some clinical data on positions, postures and range of motion. This app has probably just been super-seeded by the SeeLevel app mentioned earlier, but if you’re after a quick and easy go to, this is one we can highly recommend. Patients love the objective data as well.
12. Maelz Sports Metronome
There is some research coming out that shows that performing exercises paced to a metronome may drive increased neuroplastic changes. It may have role in modifying pain output and allows you to modify the timing, which is extremely beneficially especially when monitoring speeds/loads and working with conditions such as tendonopathies. Its can also be a useful training tool for working in specific rep ranges, if you aren’t fortunate enough to have devices such as the Push Band or
13. Visible Body
The best anatomy app on the market. Visibile body allows you to educate the patient on their body and condition using amazing interactive graphics. It’s a great educational tool and refresher for therapists and the app we wish we had when we were going through our University studies.
Visible body has extremely detailed, lifelike images that are 3D rotational, with the ability to make notes and remove layers of muscles and other systems you won’t need another app to educate your patient.
14. Ortho tests
Containing over 80 orthopaedic tests, this is nice resource that has significant number of ortho tests in one place. It provides picture and instructions of how to perform as well as sensitivity and specificity data from the literature, which helps with clinical reasoning and use of the specific test.
Again, one of those apps we wish was around when we were studying. Mendeley allows you to keep all those papers in one place and organized in a systematic fashion so you can easily refer back to them and search for them quickly to find that paper that would have gone missing in the past. Mendeley give you the ability to access your own collection from anywhere in the world, via your computer or the app on your ipad or phone. One of the best features of the app is it’s automatically pulls all the reference details from article and fills them in for you, so there’s no need to give them a title, year etc.
The newspaper for therapists, sit down to your breakfast or have a flick of educational content in between patients to stay abreast of the latest information. We know as therapists, if you’re like us, your morning newspaper read has probably been replaced with skimming various blogs and resources for the latest information out there. Feedly makes this easy for you. Simply open the app, enter in the web address or search for your favoutire website or blog and feedly will bring these all into one place for your, making your virtual ‘newspaper’ of useful information so you can read the latest blog from your favourites. Here are a few of our favourite blogs to get you started:
– Bret Contreras
– Alison Sim
– Ben Cormack
– Paul Ingraham
– Nick Tumminello
– If you’re finding this blog useful, make sure you add our blog to your feedly account: www.functionalmovementgroup.com/blog
Increase your productivity with Dropbox. Dropbox gives you the ability to access any document you have anywhere in the world. Great for storing videos and documents you might want to share with your patients or colleagues.
There’s always a million and one things to do when you work as a manual therapist. It can become daunting the shear amount of things your have to get done. Don’t miss that deadline or forget to get back to that patient, Trello can help you keep on top of things with its to-do lists. You can access Trello from anywhere in the world and set up ‘boards’ that can be used for collaborative tasks as well. They’ve reently allowed integration from third party apps such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Mailchimp and Youtube, expanding the possibilities endlessly.
While the last 2 places on our top 20 apps may not technically be apps as such, however their simple and clean platforms can be used on your tablet and really revolutionise your practice.
Similar to GoMotive and Phydeo, Trackactive is an exercise prescription tool. While the program does not have a practitioner app as yet (they are working on it), It does however have a fantastic looking and simple to use app for patients to access their exercise programs. Even though there’s no app, it doesn’t stop you using it on your device as you can access Trackactive via the browser on your chosen device and it looks and works great. There’s a few too many steps for our liking as this stage to add custom exercises (we don’t believe in generic exercise prescription), but the guys at Trackactive are very approachable and have some big things in store for this program. We are assured they are working hard on making custom exercises easier as well. We’re excited to see how Trackactive evolves. It’s modern, clean and very slick system is well designed and easy to use and has fantastic reporting and monitoring capability. We definitely recommend giving it a go if you use template exercises.
Our practice software of choice. When looking for new software for your clinic, it can often be a daunting task as there are literally hundreds, if not thousands of options out there. We were fortunate enough to stumble upon this software when we were starting up out new clinic and found this to easily be the best option out there on the market. It’s designed by a Physiotherapist for therapists and you can tell. It’s clean, modern and easy to use, you don’t need two clicks when one will do. Some of the features we love about Nookal are:
– It integrates easily with Xero accounting software and Mailchimp
– Custom patient note templates with the ability to add pictures templates that you visually draw on it (see below for how we use it)
– Cloud based access anywhere and no need to worry about storing and backing up files
– Simple and quick online booking process
– The ability to ‘lodge a ticket’ for changes you want or difficulty you’re having and have almost immediate changes made or help provided. Yes, you actually speak to a real person too who will go out of their way to make sure your query is resolved.
– Being able to contact Darren, the owner and himself a Physiotherapist directly to discuss things that you would love to see happen.
The Functional Movement Group has not received any financial or other reimbursement for writing this blog, we just aim to make your job as a therapist as easy as we can. Find out how we can make your assessment, treatment and training even easier with our cutting edge functional movement courses here:https://www.functionalmovementgroup.com/functional-movement-group-courses/#functional-assessment-course