Introducing Nutrition to Clients

How to Approach Discussing Nutrition with your Clients

The longer I am with R2P the more convinced I am that physical therapy is a wonderful setting for introducing our clients to a new way of living. Whether they are coming off of a joint replacement surgery or a season ending injury, setbacks are a time of high motivation where people can be inspired to change their situation. Nutrition should be the focal point of their recovery outside of their physical rehabilitation plan. Not only will quality nutrition allow them to recover faster, it will also give them something positive to focus on while they are out of their sport.

I would recommend discussing nutrition during the initial evaluation. Ask them about their eating habits in general terms with questions like

  • “How much water do you typically drink”
  • “do you feel you eat a well balanced diet”

You can assess how open they are to discussing nutrition from their responses to questions like these. If they seem very interested or have more advanced medical issues this is the perfect time to refer them to dietitians for counseling. If they seem very short and uninterested you can always circle back to the discussion as your relationship grows or if they start to regress or stop making progress towards their recovery goals. Even recommending they check out our website (, which now has a lot of nutrition information and resources, planting the idea in their head that while injuries and recovery from surgery may limit their exercise, it opens up a great opportunity to address nutritional concerns that they may have not had time to address in previous months.

Nutrition and physical therapy are a perfect pairing to achieve maximal results so do not shy away from these discussions with your clients. I am always here to help facilitate this as well. Remember that our job is to do right by our clients and leaving nutrition out of the equation would be a disservice. Let’s continue to build this coordinated client care together and the quality of our programs will only continue to grow in the best way possible.

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