Beyond Degrees: 15 Effective and Economical Ways for Physical Therapists to Communicate Knowledge

In an age dominated by digital communication, there's an ever-present need for professionals to share their expertise. For physical therapists, this need is especially critical. While the thought of returning to academia for a communications degree may be daunting, it's not the only route.

Let's take a step back for a moment. We're living in an age where misinformation spreads like wildfire, where anyone with a keyboard can claim to be an expert. Social media, blogs, podcasts—these platforms democratize information, but they also blur the lines between fact and fiction. That's both empowering and dangerous.

So, here's the 'Why'—the critical context for this list. In our profession, where the health and well-being of individuals are at stake, the consequences of misinformation can be dire. Incorrect rehabilitation advice can do more than waste someone's time; it can lead to worsening conditions, delayed recovery, or even permanent damage. We are ethically and morally obligated to not only deliver accurate advice but to make sure it’s understood.

Now, while we can’t control the amount of misinformation being produced, we can control the amount of quality information being produced. So instead of sitting on the sidelines and yelling at all of the bad information, I give you 15 practical ways you can communicate your knowledge, insights, and experiences.

This list was created with time, money, and skill level taken into account.

1. Live Stream 🎥

  • What: Real-time video streaming where you present or discuss a topic.
  • Why: Enables real-time interactions with a global audience.
  • Ideal For: Demonstrations, Q&A sessions, or procedural breakdowns.
  • Time: 30 minutes - 2 hours
  • Cost: $0 (Platforms like YouTube Live or Facebook Live)
  • Outcome: Builds real-time engagement and provides a lasting resource.

2. Webinar 🌐

  • What: Online seminar or workshops.
  • Why: Provides structured presentations with interactive elements.
  • Ideal For: Detailed discussions, training sessions, or introducing new techniques.
  • Time: 30 minutes - 2 hours
  • Cost: $0 - $50 (Platforms like Zoom offer free versions.)
  • Outcome: Enhances professional credibility and expands your reach.

3. Podcast 🎧

  • What: Series of digital audio episodes focusing on specific topics.
  • Why: Allows on-the-go consumption.
  • Ideal For: Deep dives, interviews, or sharing personal experiences.
  • Time: 15-60 minutes
  • Cost: $0 - $20/month (Platforms like Anchor offer free hosting.)
  • Outcome: Expands audience base, establishes authority.

4. Video Presentation 🖥

  • What: Visual presentation with slides or demonstrations.
  • Why: Combines auditory and visual learning.
  • Ideal For: Case studies, technique demonstrations, or patient education.
  • Time: 10-60 minutes
  • Cost: $0 (Canva can enhance visuals.)
  • Outcome: Engages and educates viewers effectively.

5. Blogs ✒️

  • What: Written articles.
  • Why: Provides detailed insights and serves as a reference.
  • Ideal For: Research summaries, opinion pieces, or guidelines.
  • Time: 1 hour - 3 hours
  • Cost: $0 (Platforms like Medium or WordPress)
  • Outcome: Enhances SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or the ability for your website to be found in a relevant search query on search engines, positions as an authority.

6. Tweet Thread 📲

  • What: Series of interconnected tweets.
  • Why: Concise and shareable.
  • Ideal For: Quick insights or research highlights.
  • Time: 5-55 minutes
  • Cost: $0
  • Outcome: Amplifies reach and potential for viral engagement.

7. Infographics

  • What: Visual data representations.
  • Why: Makes complex data digestible.
  • Ideal For: Research summaries or procedural overviews.
  • Time: 2-4 hours
  • Cost: $0 (Tools like Canva, Piktochart)
  • Outcome: Simplifies complex information and boosts engagement.

8. E-Books

  • What: Digital books.
  • Why: Comprehensive knowledge sharing.
  • Ideal For: In-depth topics or guides.
  • Time: 20+ hours
  • Cost: $0 (Google Docs, PDF)
  • Outcome: Establishes expertise, and long-lasting resources.

9. Online Courses

  • What: Structured digital lessons.
  • Why: Systematic and progressive knowledge sharing.
  • Ideal For: Training or detailed topic exploration.
  • Time: Varies
  • Cost: $0-$50/month (Udemy, Teachable)
  • Outcome: Generates revenue and establishes authority.

10. Interactive Quizzes

  • What: Digital tests or evaluations.
  • Why: Engages and educates simultaneously.
  • Ideal For: Testing knowledge or introducing topics.
  • Time: 1-2 hours
  • Cost: $0 (Quizlet, Kahoot)
  • Outcome: Increases engagement and provides feedback.

11. Forums

  • What: Digital discussion platforms.
  • Why: Facilitates discussions and knowledge exchange.
  • Ideal For: Seeking advice or discussing cases.
  • Time: Varies
  • Cost: $0 (Reddit, Quora)
  • Outcome: Enhances professional networking, and collaborative learning.

12. Workshops

  • What: Hands-on teaching sessions.
  • Why: Provides practical training.
  • Ideal For: Skill development or technique mastery.
  • Time: Varies
  • Cost: Varies (Eventbrite, Meetup)
  • Outcome: Offers real-world application and enhances skills.

13. Guest Posts

  • What: Articles on established platforms.
  • Why: Reaches a wider audience.
  • Ideal For: Sharing expertise or opinions.
  • Time: 1-3 hours
  • Cost: $0
  • Outcome: Expands reach and builds professional relationships.

14. Animated Videos

  • What: Digital videos with animations.
  • Why: Makes abstract ideas tangible.
  • Ideal For: Explaining complex topics or ideas.
  • Time: Varies
  • Cost: $0-$50 (Vyond, Powtoon)
  • Outcome: Engages viewers and simplifies understanding.

15. Panel Discussions

  • What: Collaborative knowledge-sharing sessions.
  • Why: Taps into collective expertise.
  • Ideal For: Diverse viewpoints on a topic.
  • Time: Varies
  • Cost: Varies (Zoom, Google Meet)
  • Outcome: Enhances collaborative learning and showcases expertise.

Conclusion: Embracing the digital age doesn't require an academic degree. With numerous tools and platforms available, every physical therapist has the opportunity to amplify their voice and impact their community and beyond. It's time to share, inspire, and lead in our ever-evolving digital world.


The author declares no conflict of interest.


Author Bio:

Jimmy McKay is a physical therapist and communications professional. He has a degree in Physical Therapy from Marymount University and a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from St. Bonaventure University. Jimmy was a rock radio DJ for 15 years, most recently as Program Director and afternoon drive host for 97.9X (WBSX-FM). He hosts two of the most downloaded physical therapy podcasts, PT Pintcast and NPTE Studycast with more than 5 million downloads. He has presented at State and National Conferences. He was appointed as a trustee for the Foundation for Physical Therapy research and was the captain of the victorious team in the Oxford Debate at the 2019 NEXT Conference.


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