What To Wear To Your Physiotherapy Appointment

Whether recovering from a sports injury, managing a spinal condition, or seeking to improve your physical health, physiotherapy sessions can significantly enhance your condition and outcomes.

In this guide, we’ll explain what you should wear to physiotherapy, ensuring you are comfortable, confident, and ready to make the most of your appointment.

Why Does It Matter What I Wear To Physio?

Physiotherapy involves various exercises, stretches, and sometimes manual therapy, all of which require a range of motion and access to specific parts of the body. Wearing the right clothing is crucial for several reasons:

  • Comfort: You need to be comfortable to perform exercises effectively – ie. shorts and a T-shirt.
  • Flexibility: Clothing should allow for a full range of motion – avoid skinny jeans!
  • Accessibility: Therapists may need access to specific body parts for treatment – maybe leave the onesie at home.

General Guidelines For Your Physiotherapy Outfit

When deciding what to wear to physiotherapy, consider the following general guidelines:

1. Opt for Breathable, Stretchy Fabrics

Breathable and stretchy fabrics such as cotton, spandex, and moisture-wicking materials are ideal. These fabrics allow your skin to breathe and your body to move freely, which is essential during physical activity.

2. Choose Fitted Yet Comfortable Clothing

Clothing that is too loose can get in the way or become a safety hazard, while clothing that is too tight can restrict movement. Aim for a fit that is snug but not constrictive, allowing you to move comfortably without excess fabric getting in the way.

3. Wear Layers

Physiotherapy sessions can vary in intensity, and your body temperature may fluctuate. Wearing layers allows you to adjust your clothing as needed. A light jacket or sweatshirt over a t-shirt or tank top is a practical choice.

4. Prioritise Easy Access

Depending on the focus of your therapy, your physiotherapist may need to access specific areas of your body. For instance, if you’re receiving treatment for your knee, wearing shorts can be more convenient than long trousers.

5. Consider Footwear

Footwear is an important aspect of physiotherapy attire. Wear sports shoes that provide good support and have non-slip soles. Avoid sandals, flip-flops, or shoes with insufficient support.

Recommendations for Different Types of Physiotherapy

The type of physiotherapy you are undergoing may influence your clothing choices. Here are some specific recommendations based on common physiotherapy treatments:

For General Physical Therapy

For general physical therapy sessions, which may involve a combination of exercises and stretches, the following attire is recommended:

  • Tops: Moisture-wicking t-shirts, tank tops, or lightweight long-sleeve shirts.
  • Bottoms: Stretchy leggings, yoga pants, or athletic shorts.
  • Footwear: Supportive shoes.

For Manual Therapy

Manual therapy involves hands-on techniques such as massage and joint manipulation. It’s important to wear clothing that allows easy access to the treatment area:

  • Tops: Loose-fitting t-shirts or tank tops. Avoid bulky sweatshirts or jackets.
  • Bottoms: Shorts or loose trousers with easy roll-up legs.
  • Footwear: You may be asked to remove your shoes during manual therapy, so ensure you have clean, comfortable socks.

For Post-Surgery Rehabilitation

If you are attending physiotherapy for post-surgical rehabilitation, your clothing needs to accommodate any surgical dressings or mobility aids:

  • Tops: Button-up or zip-up shirts can be easier to put on and take off than pullovers.
  • Bottoms: Loose-fitting trousers with an elastic waistband.
  • Footwear: Comfortable, supportive shoes that are easy to put on and take off.

Dressing for Specific Injuries

Certain injuries require specific clothing considerations. Here are some tips based on common physiotherapy treatments:

For Knee Injuries

  • Bottoms: Shorts or joggers with wide legs to allow for knee braces or easy access.
  • Tops: Any comfortable, breathable top.

For Shoulder Injuries

  • Tops: Sleeveless or loose-fitting shirts that allow easy access to the shoulder.
  • Bottoms: Any comfortable, stretchy bottoms.

For Back Injuries

  • Tops: Fitted tops to prevent fabric from bunching up during exercises.
  • Bottoms: Stretchy, supportive bottoms such as leggings or athletic shorts.

Additional Tips for a Successful Physiotherapy Session

Beyond clothing, here are some additional tips to ensure your physiotherapy session is as effective as possible:

1. Hydrate

Drink plenty of water before and after your session to stay hydrated, especially if your therapy involves intense physical activity.

2. Communicate

Let your physiotherapist know if you experience any discomfort or pain during exercises. They can adjust your treatment plan accordingly.

3. Bring Necessary Items

Carry a small towel, water bottle, and any required medical documents or prescriptions. If you have a specific exercise routine, bring any necessary equipment.

4. Arrive Early

Give yourself extra time to change into your physiotherapy attire and mentally prepare for your session. Arriving early also ensures you can start your appointment on time.

5. Follow Post-Session Care Instructions

Your physiotherapist may provide specific instructions for after your session, such as stretching or applying ice. Follow these recommendations to enhance your recovery.


By wearing the right clothing, you ensure comfort, flexibility, and accessibility, which are crucial for an efficient physiotherapy session. Remember to consider the type of therapy you are undergoing and any specific requirements related to your condition or treatment area.

With the right attire and a proactive mindset, you’ll be well-equipped to make the most of your physiotherapy sessions and achieve your goals.

Got A Question?

The Author

Lewis Payne

Lewis graduated from The University of Nottingham in 2013 with a First Class Honours in Physiotherapy, worked as Sheffield F.C.’s first team Physiotherapist, and now runs a leading-edge private clinic in Sheffield. With over ten years of experience, he specialises in manual therapy, advanced technological treatments, and exercise-based approaches, focusing on spinal and joint conditions, sports injuries, and specifically complex spinal issues like disc pathology and scoliosis. Lewis leads in IDD Therapy, performing over 6000 treatments, offers MRI referrals and reviews, and employs a holistic treatment philosophy viewing the body as a Tensegrity structure. He excels in postural analysis, soft tissue release techniques, and prescribes biomechanical corrective exercises to enhance natural movement.