Game Your Way to Recovery: Fun Games for Physical and Occupational Therapy

Game Your Way to Recovery: Fun Games for Physical and Occupational Therapy

By Professional Physical Therapy

Occupational therapy and physical therapy are essential for recovering from injuries or improving physical conditions, but it’s often associated with repetitive exercises that might be dull or mundane. However, what if we told you that your rehabilitation program could be transformed into a fun experience through gaming? Incorporating games into therapy not only makes it more engaging but also helps patients forget about any discomfort they might be experiencing. We will explore some fun games that can turn OT and PT sessions into enjoyable challenges, aiding in recovery from various conditions such as hand injuries, elbow injuries, shoulder problems, balance issues and more.

The Clinical Director Partner, Evan Ludin, MS, OTR/L, CHT at our Hauppauge Clinic made games available in clinic and a part of their treatment plans for both occupational therapy and physical therapy patients. Evan shares, “Instead of using conventional exercises and tools, we allow patients to game their way through rehabilitation. Doing exercises at the table by playing games distracts them and helps them forget what they are here for. It also allows patients to work together, as we often have different OT and PT patients playing games against each other. We find the interactive games a highly effective method to help patients strengthen their grip, hold, throw, improve their balance and so much more.”

Fun Games to Aid in PT or OT Recovery

Gaming can be a very effective therapeutic tool for patients of all ages with all types of injuries; some you might even try right in the comfort of your own home. But it is very important to note that while these games can enhance your rehabilitation program, you should consult with a licensed OT or PT to ensure they are being performed safely and align with your therapeutic needs and/or recovery plan.


Wii Sports: Wii Sports is a sports simulation video game that offers a variety of games like tennis, bowling, and boxing, all of which involve dynamic stability and movements. For patients recovering from shoulder, elbow, and hand injuries, playing Wii tennis can help improve range of motion and strengthen core and upper extremity muscles. Bowling can assist in hand-eye coordination and balance, benefiting those with any shoulder, elbow, hand, or balance issues.


Ping Pong: Ping pong, or table tennis, is an excellent game for back, shoulder, elbow, and hand injuries. The quick movements required to hit the ball can help improve range of motion, strength, and proprioception. Additionally, it enhances coordination and reflexes, making it beneficial for overall recovery and rehabilitation.


Cornhole: Cornhole is a fun and social game that can aid in the rehabilitation of back, upper extremity and lower extremity injuries. Throwing bean bags towards the cornhole board requires controlled trunk stabilization, arm movements and engages all upper extremity, lower extremity, and trunk muscles. It can help improve balance, coordination, stability, range of motion, and accuracy.


Darts: Playing darts is not only entertaining but also beneficial for hand and upper extremity rehabilitation. It involves gripping, pinching when throwing darts, which can help strengthen hand muscles and improve hand-eye coordination. Patients with all upper extremity injuries can also benefit from the controlled throwing motion involved in playing darts.


Nerf Gun Target Practice: Using Nerf guns for target practice adds an element of fun to OT and PT sessions. Patients can work on their aiming skills while engaging their upper body muscles. This game is particularly useful for those recovering from hand, elbow, or shoulder injuries as it involves gripping and coordinated motions.


Blaze Pods: Blaze Pods are interactive light pods that can be used to help patients recover their mobility and responsiveness after injury or illness. They can be programmed to create a variety of challenges that improve balance, coordination, and reaction time. For patients with balance and vestibular issues, incorporating Blaze Pods into therapy sessions can make rehabilitation more dynamic and enjoyable.

Not only do these games target specific areas of the body for recovery, but they also provide mental stimulation and motivation to keep pushing forward. Additionally, the social aspect of gaming can help patients feel supported and encouraged throughout their journey to recovery.

At Professional Physical Therapy, we understand the challenges of living with pain or discomfort, and our team of skilled clinicians is dedicated to helping you achieve optimal recovery and function. Contact us at Professional Physical Therapy today.

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