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Illinois Physical Therapy Scope of Practice

How is physical therapy defined in Illinois?

Examining, evaluating, and testing individuals who may have mechanical, physiological, or developmental impairments, functional limitations, disabilities, or other health and movement-related conditions, classifying these disorders, determining a rehabilitation prognosis and plan of therapeutic intervention, and assessing the ongoing effects of the interventions.

Alleviating impairments, functional limitations, or disabilities by designing, implementing, and modifying therapeutic interventions that may include, but are not limited to, the evaluation or treatment of a person through the use of the effective properties of physical measures and heat, cold, light, water, radiant energy, electricity, sound, and air and use of therapeutic massage, therapeutic exercise, mobilization, and rehabilitative procedures, with or without assistive devices, for the purposes of preventing, correcting, or alleviating a physical or mental impairment, functional limitation, or disability.

Reducing the risk of injury, impairment, functional limitation, or disability, including the promotion and maintenance of fitness, health, and wellness.

Engaging in administration, consultation, education, and research.

What is included in the practice of physical therapy?

"Physical therapy" includes, but is not limited to:

    • Performance of specialized tests and measurements,
    • Administration of specialized treatment procedures,
    • Interpretation of referrals from physicians, dentists, advanced practice registered nurses, physician assistants, and podiatric physicians,
    • Establishment, and modification of physical therapy treatment programs,
    • Administration of topical medication used in generally accepted physical therapy procedures when such medication is either prescribed by the patient's physician, licensed to practice medicine in all its branches, the patient's physician licensed to practice podiatric medicine, the patient's advanced practice registered nurse, the patient's physician assistant, or the patient's dentist or used following the physician's orders or written instructions,
    • Supervision or teaching of physical therapy, and
    • Dry needling.

What is specifically excluded from the practice?

"Physical therapy" does not include radiology, electrosurgery, chiropractic technique or determination of a differential diagnosis; provided, however, the limitation on determining a differential diagnosis shall not in any manner limit a licensed physical therapist from performing an evaluation and establishing a physical therapy treatment plan pursuant to such license.

Are there any special trainings or requirements?

Wound debridement services may only be provided by a physical therapist with written authorization from a health care professional.

Illinois PT Dry Needling or Intramuscular Manual Therapy.


225 ILCS 90/1

225 ILCS 90/1.2

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