Unless you have immediate access to a “cash cow”, stocking your new clinical practice with appropriate physical therapy supplies can be challenging. Do not set your expectations too high as it's not possible to start off with equal stock as an established practice. Prioritizing becomes paramount!

For example, in your geographical area what do you foresee as common diagnoses? In an aging community, you'll treat more joint problems and falls, which can culminate in sprains and muscular pain. For an obese population, you should invest in bariatric products. Of course, there are generic supplies for assessment purposes for consideration.

Once you've assembled a list of your must-haves, start another list of desirables, or supplies that can wait until the practice is more financially sound. Occasionally you'll have the correct products for treating each medical challenge from deep tissue damage to strike victims.

Ordering your basic inventory online will save money and time. It is also more convenient to have supplies shipped to your door. For research purposes, a good online resource is “physical therapy schools”. Many list overviews of supplies and equipment are necessary for the beginning practitioner.

To get a general idea of ​​where to start:

Mobility is an area where you want to beef-up your supplies. Think swill balls, fitness balls and wobble boards.

You'll need a healthy stock of disposable hot and cold packs for reducing inflammation, pain and stiffness associated with injuries.

For positioning, support and treatment, obtain bolsters, pillows and wedges.

Scales and tape measures, blood pressure monitors and monitors for heart rates are just a few everyday assessment products.

For your geriatric patients think about transfer boards, canes, walkers and crutches.

If your practice will include orthopedic physical therapy, you'll want plenty of splints, hand weights, braces and collars.

Do not forget electrode prep products like creams, solutions and gels for your ECG, TENS and defibrillation equipment.

Exercise balls, grip balls and medicine balls come in varied sizes and shapes. Also, you'll need some exercise mats.

For deep tissue soreness, tubes and rollers of Biofreeze or your preferred cold therapy aid should always be on-hand.

You'll have great fun shopping for pediatric therapy aids, like a mobility crawler, Boo Boo cold packs, cheerful therapy balls and bright-colored tactile balls.

Your most significant cash outlay will be for the therapeutic equipment, such as treatment tables, TENS units, ultrasound, XRay machines, treadmills and weight machines. You might save upfront money by leasing the equipment until your personal cash cow ramps-up production! Whatever you decide, invest in quality supplies and equipment.

Another option is to open your practice part-time as you continue to work. You'd be pleasantly surprised how quickly your necessaries and “desirables” can be purchased!

Bottom Line: It's never too soon to begin visualizing your thriving practice as a physical therapist.