Who doesn’t love a good app? They often make our lives easier, more productive, and more entertaining. In fact, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak once told a conference that he believed the company’s most important invention was the App Store, not the iPhone or iPod!
Nowadays, there are a vast array of apps available for people in the outpatient rehab industry. Here’s our list of ten of our favorites.
Physical Therapy Fitness and Anatomy Apps
Run Cadence PT: This is a great app created by our friends at Lake Washington PT, designed to help runners, coaches, and clinicians apply the simple cadence metric to running (hint: cadence = steps/minute). Research has shown cadence to play a key role in addressing common running-related injuries, and this app provides an easy way to help runners reduce their step length and prevent, or even heal, injuries.
Coach’s Eye: Typically used as a video platform for coaches and athletes, PT’s are now using this app as an innovative way to record, review and refine patient’s movements. With it, you can easily improve your patients’ overall movements and provide instant feedback to get them feeling better, faster.
Muscle Premium by Visible Body: This app provides a 3D guide to the anatomy and function of muscles, bones, ligaments, bursae, and joints. Typically, the app is used as a reference or learning app, providing the needed visual aid to make it easier to explain normal function and injuries to patients. This is great for orthopedic specialists, kinesiologists, sports medicine practitioners, physical therapists, massage therapists, and students.
PT Timer: Stretch & Exercise: Sure, most phones have their own built-in timers these days, but this app is different. PT Stretch by Qi Analytics, LLC, consists of a timer, counter, tracker, and communication platform that ensures no steps are shorted or missed in your rehabilitation therapy process. It also allows you to share your exercises or routines with notes and images, making it another great communication app for physicians to use with their patients.
Instant Heart Rate: This app, made by Azumio, is the first mobile heart rate monitor aimed to track your heart rate during fitness. The app includes a slider that communicates the target heart rate for your age during different activity levels, ranging from resting to athletic elite. Another perk resides in the detailed analytics as the app tracks your heartbeat every day to identify trends and monitor differences. If our word isn’t enough, know that various Olympic athletes and professional bodybuilders also use Instant Heart Rate by Azumio.
Occupational Therapy Coordination and Cognition Apps
Dexteria – Fine Motor Skills: App-creator, Binary Labs Inc., has developed a whole line of Dexteria award-winning apps for occupational therapists and their patients. Their flagship app, Dexteria – Fine Motor Skills, offers hand and finger activities to improve handwriting, motor control, and coordination for children and adults. The app automatically tracks and reports the patient’s progress, and therapists, teachers, or parents can email the reports to themselves directly in the app. Occupational therapists can also report issues to the developers and access new features to help influence the evolution of the Dexteria line of products.
Rehab Coach – CVA Stroke Rehabilitation Recovery: Aimed at helping patients recover from cerebrovascular accidents (CVA), the app contains several exercises to help patients improve memory, alphabet learning, color recognition, and facial muscle strength post-stroke. Created by Black Frog Studios, LLC, the app is only available for Android devices but is free with ads.
Luminosity – Brain Training: Available for both Android and Apple devices, Luminosity is a cognitive training program that offers over 40 activities (and counting) aimed at improving memory, speed, logic, problem-solving, math, and speech patterns, among other focuses. While the app isn’t intended for therapy environments, it offers a great supplemental addition to traditional occupational therapy. Patients can practice skills using the clever games and puzzles in the app and will have access to personalized progress reports. Plus, the app is available in English, Spanish, and other languages.
Speech and Language Therapy Apps
My Aphasia Coach: Designed to help patients improve their language learning capabilities, My Aphasia Coach is a useful training tool to supplement traditional speech therapy. Therapists can assign homework to their patients through the app, and the app will automatically increase the difficulty setting for the patient as they complete assignments. Therapists can monitor progress and assess skills as the patient works through their app between appointments.
Conversation Therapy: Created by Tactus Therapy, this app is designed to help patients practice communication strategies to improve their ability to share thoughts and feelings in therapy environments. While traditional speech-language apps focus on basic vocabulary, this app asks thought-provoking questions with images and pictures to help the patient form clear, organized thoughts and speech. Therapists can easily customize the app for each patient, including selecting age-appropriate subjects, running group therapy sessions, and adding, removing, or personalizing topics relevant to each patient. Therapists can also run reports to track progress and assess skill levels as the patient completes assignments.
Editor’s note: This list was updated February 2, 2021.