Our PT unit evaluates & treats musculoskeletal problems/injuries & assists with rehabilitation after orthopedic surgeries

Call 608.785.5120 for PT appointments
PT Fax: 608.785.5146

PT Hours: Fall & Spring Semester 
Mon, Wed, Thurs, Fri: 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Tuesday: 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Summer Session & J-Term
Mon & Wed: 12:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
Tues, Thurs, Fri: 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Read this before your 1st PT appointment!

First-time patients should also review the PT FAQs on this page.

Students must register at the Student Health Center registration (front) desk prior to their 1st PT visit each semester/term. Please register at least 10 minutes prior to your PT appointment.

For UWL students, PT evaluations & re-evaluations are covered by the Student Health Center User Fee. There is a $35 charge for up to 10 Physical Therapy treatment sessions. Each session may include multiple treatments (e.g. exercise + cold packing + electrical stimulation). For Western students, there is a charge of $10 for every 10 Physical Therapy visits (regardless of appointment type).

If you have a PT referral &/or a post-operative rehabilitation protocol from a healthcare provider, bring them to your 1st PT visit or fax them to us (608.785.5146) in advance.

Wear/bring shorts for ANY low back, pelvis, hip, leg, ankle or foot issues. Women should wear/bring a sports-bra/bikini top for ANY shoulder, neck, or back conditions. Bring your running shoes for ANY running-related problems. Closed-toed athletic shoes & (appropriate) workout clothes must be worn for exercising in our gym.

To maximize confidentiality for ALL patients & to reduce room crowding, the Health Center does not allow accompaniment during appointments. Exceptions to this policy are made for patients' parents and language interpreters.

There is a charge for most PT supplies (e.g. crutches, splints, braces). See the Fees & costs page for PT equipment fees.

If you miss a PT appointment and fail to notify us prior to your appointment, a $10.00 No Show charge will be posted to your student bill. This charge does NOT apply to appointments that are cancelled or changed prior to the scheduled appointment time. Patients who NO SHOW for two consecutive appointments will be discharged.

Patients who are uncooperative or disrespectful to the staff or other patients will be discharged.

If your pain/problem resolves before your PT appointment call our front desk (608-785-5120) to cancel your remaining appointments. This will free-up appointments for other patients. Tell the receptionist that you are cancelling your appointment(s) because your pain/problem has resolved. You will NOT be charged a ‘No Show’ fee if you cancel for this reason.

Student Employment in the PT Department

We routinely hire students to work at our appointment desk scheduling appointments (on a computer), answering phones, creating patient charts, making photocopies & performing a variety of other tasks. This position is often fast-paced, and requires excellent interpersonal and computer skills and attention to detail. Front desk staff should NOT expect to study while working—at least not regularly. Scheduling appointments can be very nuanced, and workers must be patient and adaptable to succeed in this role. Students planning on a career in physical therapy or another allied health field should find the experience very valuable. 

If you are interested in employment, and are eligible for financial aid, contact the UWL financial aid office (608.785.8604) to discuss a work-study placement with us. If you are not eligible for financial aid, call or email Julie Puent-Nelson (608.785.8769) to see if front desk positions are available.

As a first line of contact with our patients, front desk staff are responsible for creating a positive impression when greeting & assisting patients. Front desk staff are expected to dress & act professionally at all times. Business-casual shirts/sweaters & pants are required. Shirts must be tucked-in. Shoes must be clean. Hats/caps, shorts, sweatshirts, athletic pants, sandals/open-toed shoes are not permitted. Jeans may be worn on Fridays only. 

Internships in the PT Department

We offer internships for PT & PTA students & UWL ESS-Fitness students. All assignments are made on a first-come basis. For information on our internships, click on the links below.

PT Internships

PTA Internships

Fitness Internships

Job shadowing/volunteer opportunities are available during fall & spring semesters (not summers or J-terms). Due to the nature of our practice, volunteers/job shadowers should expect to spend their time assisting & observing Physical Therapist Assistants (PTAs)--not Physical Therapists. Volunteer evaluations are completed by PTAs. Students who want direct experience with a PT (e.g. for PT school applications) should make arrangements elsewhere. To minimize disruptions in patient care, only ONE STUDENT may volunteer/job shadow during a designated time period. This policy is non-negotiable. Note that we cannot control how many patients volunteers will observe.

Students who need an evaluation of their observation experience (e.g. for a course or application) must volunteer a minimum of 20 hours & a maximum of 40 hours (This does not apply to students enrolled in ESS 320 Field Experience; these students may volunteer for up to 84 hours). Students who do NOT need an evaluation of their observation experience may volunteer up to 30 hours maximum (no minimum required).

Volunteers are required to have a log sheet of their observation hours initialed/signed by SHC staff at the end of each observational session for verification of attendance. Volunteers who anticipate needing a recommendation in the future (e.g. for an application or job) should complete the top portion of this form, paste a head-shot photo, & return or email to SHC PT at the end of the volunteer experience. IF YOU DO NOT COMPLETE THIS FORM, WE MAY NOT BE ABLE TO PROVIDE A RECOMMENDATION IN THE FUTURE.

Volunteers must dress & act professionally & wear name tags (we can provide name tags). No jeans, shorts, or sandals/open-toed shoes. Collared shirts & belts are required. Shirts must be tucked-in. Shoes must be clean. 

Volunteers will assist staff with non-technical PT procedures (e.g. preparing hot or cold packs) & simple cleaning. Volunteers are encouraged to interact with patients but should do so without interfering with staff or the therapy process.

Volunteers must be punctual & consistent in their attendance. If you are unable to report at your scheduled time, notify the PT department 608.785.5120. Volunteers who fail to show 2 times without notifying the PT department in advance will be removed from the schedule.

If you're interested in volunteering:

  1. Once the fall or spring semester has started, send an email to Chris Durall requesting to volunteer & stating that you have reviewed the information on the website. Indicate how many total hours you want to volunteer & if you are seeking to satisfy the ESS 320 field experience requirement. IF YOU ALREADY EMAILED CHRIS RE: VOLUNTEERING, YOU CAN SKIP THIS STEP. 
  2. You will receive a reply w/ further instructions (re-send your email if you do not receive a reply within 7 working days). Note: if your email is sent during the summer or semester break, you may not receive a reply until the subsequent semester has started.
  3. You will be informed if we have reached our quota of volunteers, in which case you will need to make arrangements to volunteer elsewhere.
  4. NOTE: During the 1st two weeks of each semester, ESS 320 students are given scheduling priority, since they need volunteer hours for course credit. ESS 320 students are allowed to sign-up for hours on a "first-come" basis. Students not enrolled in ESS 320 must wait until the third week of classes to sign-up for volunteer hours.
  5. ESS 320 students should bring their TYPED Field Experience Contract with the "Work Schedule" left blank (this section can be completed once you fill-out hours on our schedule). Refer to this fitness internship form for information on our address, phone, etc. (For the Specific Duties ..., on the Field Experience Contract, type "See attached".) Print & staple the Fitness Internship form to your Field Experience contract & bring these together.
Do I need a prescription or referral for PT? expanding section

No--in Wisconsin physical therapists can evaluate & treat patients (within the PT scope of practice) without a referral from another healthcare provider. However, we do like to have copies of information provided to you by your primary care provider, surgeon, and/or previous PT (e.g. rehabilitation protocol, exercise instructions). For patients who need rehabilitation after surgery, we also like to see (but don't require) a copy of your surgical report. These items can be hand carried to your initial PT appointment or faxed to us at 608.785.5146.

Do you offer same-day or walk-in PT appointments? expanding section

Same-day & walk-in urgent care PT visits are available for concerns that warrant immediate attention. These visits are usually brief due to scheduling constraints & intended to determine if radiographs (x-rays) or immediate referral to another healthcare provider are needed and/or to provide bracing, crutches, etc. until a more thorough examination can be performed. Urgent care utilization is determined by urgency of need & NOT by scheduling convenience. Urgent care wait times are unpredictable & may be lengthy.

What if my pain/problem worsens or resolves prior to my next PT appointment? expanding section

If your pain worsens, STOP any activities/exercises (including ones we've recommended) that are making your pain/problem worse & call us (608.785.5120) to move your appointment up to the next available time slot and/or speak with your PT. 

If your pain/problem resolves & you don't need further PT, call our front desk (608.785.5120) to cancel your remaining appointments. This allows us to open appointment slots for other patients. Make sure to tell the receptionist that you're cancelling your future appointments because your problem has resolved.

Do you have wheelchairs or knee scooters to sell, rent, or borrow? expanding section

We have wheelchairs for clinic use although we don't rent, sell, or borrow them. Local medical supply vendors may be able to assist you in procuring a wheelchair. We do have 1 knee scooter (housed at the front of the SHC) that was donated and is available for short-term use on a "first-come" basis. Additional knee scooters may be available from local vendors.

Can you provide Handicapped parking permits? expanding section

Unfortunately no--all parking permits are controlled/distributed by the campus Parking & Transportation office.

Click here for PT exercise videos