As we have been discussing the last couple of weeks, I wanted to create a comprehensive list of recommended books, sort of a best book or an “Essential Reading List” for physical therapists, athletic trainers, strength and conditioning specialists, and really any other type of rehabilitation specialists. The goal was to include the best books that I felt were influential in my development and clinical practice. To take this one step further, I have been accumulating lists of essential readings and top book recommendations from several leaders, pioneers, and influential clinicians in our fields.
I published several past posts on essential reading lists from experts such as George Davies, Leon Chaitow, Sue Falsone, Eric Cressey, and Ken Crenshaw, all people that I truly admire, respect, and have certainly learned from. Notice that I tried to include people from different disciplines as I believe we can all learn from each other and grow together. If you missed any of them, be sure to view contributions to the The Essential Reading List Series by other expert clinicians:
I always like asking what other people are reading and learning, think of this as a glimpse into the bookcase of myself and other experts! Below is my summary and recommendations for books that I believe are essential reading for every physical therapist, assistant, athletic training, strength and conditioning specialist and other rehabilitation specialists. I hope that there a few new ones on the list that will broaden your perspective and clinical skills.
Best Physical Therapy Books
The following section of books provide overviews on a broad range of topics and, as you can see, build from general musculoskeletal rehab to more advanced orthopedic and sports medicine topics. These should be of interest to all, not just physical therapists, as they provide a great amount of information regarding injuries and treatment that may not otherwise be covered in athletic training or strength and conditioning books:
Best Rehabilitation Books – Extremities
After tackling the general rehabilitation topics, many people are then interested in specializing in specific joints. While excellent overviews, the books above are not designed to go into great detail. Consider the list below the next step in becoming more specific and advancing your knowledge with individual joints.
Best Rehabilitation Books – Spine
Good spine books are actually hard to come by, which makes the following books even more essential. The first group of books are general overviews, but excellent additions to your library.
The next section of spine books are based on popular treatment methods, the names you have heard before like Maitland and McKenzie. I myself am not a subscriber to one specific theory so I actually own all of these books and use what I feel is the best from each. My thought is that an integrated approach is always better than sticking to just one approach, but I am sure that others would disagree.
Best Clinical Examination Books
Clinical examination books are important tools when attempting to diagnosis an injury. These are often times the most popular books lying around rehabilitation clinics and training rooms.
Best Athletic Training Books
The concepts behind the following athletic training based books are probably simplistic at best for an athletic trainer, but for physical therapists and strength and conditioning specialists, these books can come in handy when trying to understand the acute care of athletic injuries.
Best Manual Therapy Books
I couldn’t think of the perfect title for this section, so I ended up with just “Manual Therapy.” This is intended to include books that discuss manual therapy and bodywork techniques. This is an area that is not covered well in most physical therapy, athletic training, and strength and conditioning education programs, so to me this is one of the most important sections. I always admit that this was an area that I did not pay attention to early in my career and I regret this. Expand your mind and enhance your clinical skills with the following.
Best Strength and Conditioning Books
The following books are intended mainly for the strength and conditioning specialists, but as a physical therapist and an athletic trainer, I think these books should be read by all. These are the thoughts that can take your clinical skills to the next level, especially if you want to work with athletes.
Best Clinical Research Books
I believe that we should all participate in clinical research. We do not have to leave the research to the PhD’s in a lab somewhere, your patients, athletes, and clients are perfect “specimens” to study the efficacy behind many of our techniques. Getting started in research isn’t as hard as it seems, you just need a little direction. Try these books to begin.
View contributions to the The Essential Reading List Series by other expert clinicians:
What do you think? Did I leave out one of your favorites? Reply to this post and let me know, maybe it will make the 2nd edition of this list in the future!
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