What Is the Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy Residency?


Most people have heard of medical students completing residency programs, but what is a physical therapy residency?

The American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education (ABPTRFE) defines a physical therapy residency as, “a post-professional program that one can participate in after graduation…with a focus on advancing knowledge or skills within a specific specialty area of practice…and prepare individuals for the specialty certification exam.”

Residencies are not required for physical therapists after obtaining her or his doctorate, but help improve skills and clinical reasoning in specialty areas, such as neurology, sports, and orthopedics.

Foothills Sports Medicine has an orthopedic residency program to help residents implement evidence-informed practice and skills in the assessment and treatment of orthopedic conditions. The program runs annually, starting in September, with one-year and two-year tracks. During the residency program, you are provided didactic education, skills sessions, and mentoring from expert clinicians throughout Phoenix and Tucson.

I have gone through the program and I now serve as a lead mentor at our Surprise location. My favorite aspect of the residency is the diversity that comes with mentoring. In other residency programs, a resident will have one or two mentors that they are with for the entire residency. At Foothills Sports Medicine, a resident has a lead mentor at her or his home clinic but will also receive mentorship with expert clinicians at our other clinics every two months. This immerses the residents in a wide range of experiences that grow their skill set and clinical reasoning.

For physical therapists and student physical therapists, completing a residency in the specialty area you are passionate about can accelerate your journey to becoming a sought after expert clinician. Our physical therapy residency program prepares a resident to sit for the Orthopedic Specialist Examination and become an Orthopedic Certified Specialist (OCS), which less than 6% of physical therapists are. This distinction allows your clients to see the dedication you have to provide optimal care and towards continuing education.

For patients: find a physical therapist who you have a great rapport with and who is passionate about providing you with the best care to help you achieve your goals. Your physical therapist should want to treat you with the same level of care they want for their family, friends, and themselves. Foothills Sports Medicine prides itself on choosing passionate individuals that are here for you. Feel free to make an online request for an appointment at a clinic near you.

For more information on our physical therapy residency, please visit this webpage.


Joel Kramer

PT, DPT, CKTP Surprise