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Ohio Physical Therapy Scope of Practice

How is the practice of Physical Therapy defined in Ohio?

"Physical therapy" means the evaluation and treatment of a person by physical measures and the use of therapeutic exercises and rehabilitative procedures, with or without assistive devices, for the purpose of preventing, correcting, or alleviating physical impairments, functional limitations, and physical disabilities. "Physical therapy" includes physiotherapy.

"Physical therapy diagnosis" means a judgment that is made after examining the neuromusculoskeletal system or evaluating or studying its symptoms and that utilizes the techniques and science of physical therapy to establish a plan of therapeutic intervention.

"Physical therapy diagnosis" does not include a medical diagnosis.

What is included in the practice of PT?

"Physical therapy" includes the establishment and modification of physical therapy programs, treatment planning, patient education and instruction, and consultative services. With respect to the evaluation of a person, "physical therapy" includes determining a physical therapy diagnosis in order to treat the person's physical impairments, functional limitations, and physical disabilities; determining a prognosis; and determining a plan of therapeutic intervention.

If performed by a person who is adequately trained, "physical therapy" includes the design, fabrication, and revision of various assistive devices, and the provision of education and instruction in the use of those devices, including braces, splints, ambulatory or locomotion devices, wheelchairs, prosthetics, and orthotics.

Services specifically excluded from the scope of practice

"Physical therapy" does not include either of the following:

    • The use of electricity for cauterization or other surgical purposes;
    • The use of Roentgen rays or radium for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes.

Can PTs practice dry needling?


PTAs: It is the position of the Physical Therapy Section that physical therapist assistants cannot legally perform intramuscular manual therapy (dry needling) under the Ohio Physical Therapy Practice Act since it requires activities that are evaluative in nature and outside the scope of practice of the physical therapist assistant.

Can PTs administer topical drugs?

"Physical therapy" includes the administration of topical drugs that have been prescribed by a licensed health professional authorized to prescribe drugs.

Can PTs practice through telehealth?


"Telehealth" means the use of electronic communications to provide and deliver a host of health-related information and healthcare services, including, but not limited to physical therapy related information and services, over large and small distances.

    • Telehealth encompasses a variety of healthcare and health promotion activities, including, but not limited to, education, advice, reminders, interventions, and monitoring of interventions.
    • If a physical therapy patient is located in Ohio, the physical therapist or physical therapist assistant providing physical therapy services via telehealth shall hold a valid Ohio license.


Ohio Revised Code § 4755.40


Ohio Admin. Code § 4755-27-01

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