Firefighters Use Physical Therapy to Reduce Injuries

Strains, sprains and muscle pain comprised more than half of the injuries firefighters sustained, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

In an effort to reduce these injuries, some fire departments are using physical therapists to help improve their team’s stability and flexibility and keep them on the job.

The Bend Bulletin reports on one local effort:

It’s not only good for the firefighters themselves — it could potentially save the city a lot of money. Between 2011 and 2015, the department racked up about $450,000 in medical bills from on-the-job injuries. That doesn’t include the money spent filling in for people who missed work.

The job of a firefighter involves a lot of lifting and carrying heavy equipment and people. Firefighters also climb, pull, swing and shove. The movements can be awkward and repetitive. Preventing them, it turns out, isn’t so much about being big and strong as about being flexible and having a good range of motion.

In an effort to reduce the musculoskeletal injuries that are so common among firefighters, the Bend Fire Department has called in Rebound’s physical therapists to help its team improve its stability and flexibility. Strains, sprains and muscle pain comprised more than half of the injuries firefighters sustained in 2015, according to the National Fire Protection Association. It’s not only good for the firefighters themselves — it could potentially save the city a lot of money. Between 2011 and 2015, the department racked up about $450,000 in medical bills from on-the-job injuries. That doesn’t include the money spent filling in for people who missed work. The job of a firefighter involves a lot of lifting and carrying heavy equipment and people. Firefighters also climb, pull, swing and shove. The movements can be awkward and repetitive. Preventing them, it turns out, isn’t so much about being big and strong as about being flexible and having a good range of motion.