Survey of Physical Therapists’ Knowledge of Screening and Management Practices for Patients with Prediabetes


Physical Therapy

Document Type


Publication Source

Physiotheraphy Practice and Research

Publication Date



PURPOSE: It is estimated that up to 80% of patients referred to outpatient physical therapy have diabetes, prediabetes, or diabetes risk factors; thus, physical therapists are in an optimal position to intervene as members of a multidisciplinary team working to effectively manage and reduce the diabetes epidemic. The purpose of this study is to assess the knowledge, practices, attitudes and beliefs of private practice physical therapists toward patients with prediabetes. METHODS: One thousand members of the Private Practice section of the American Physical Therapy Association were randomly selected through a random number generator to participate. Participants completed a paper based survey that was specifically designed for this study. RESULTS: Sixty-three physical therapists (34 males, 29 females; mean age: 52.8±11.5 years; mean number of years of clinical practice: 25.7±12.3 years) agreed to participate. The majority of participants (79%) agreed that identifying prediabetes in their patients is important; only 3% identified all of the risk factors that should prompt prediabetes screening. Seventy three percent of participants identified the correct laboratory test to screen for diabetes;<10% could identify the correct laboratory parameters for diagnosing prediabetes and diabetes. Only 2% and 22% of participants could identify correct weight loss and physical activity recommendations, respectively. CONCLUSION: A number of gaps in the knowledge of private practice physical therapists were noted in this study. These results may have important implications for the education of private practice physical therapists, especially those providing care for patients without a referral who are at risk for diabetes.


physical therapy, prediabetes, screening, management