The book you don’t read won’t help– Jim Rohn
The first three items on this page should be part of every candidate’s OCS exam preparation strategy as they are published by the orthopaedic section of the APTA. Although there is not a specific preparatory text for the OCS, I would not recommend sitting for the exam without first reading Current Concepts of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy 3rd Ed., which serves as an excellent starting point to begin a comprehensive preparation plan. In addition to these monographs all candidates should read and review the Orthopaedic Clinical Practice Guidelines which are published and available on the orthopaedic section’s website. These guidelines represent the synthesis of the current body of evidence related to the provision of orthopaedic physical therapy. Lastly, a candidate should be familiar with the current body of evidence related to orthopaedic physical therapy by reviewing the last 5 years of the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy.
Current Concepts of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy, 4th Edition: These monographs present a thorough review of anatomy and biomechanics of each body region, application of specific tests and measurements, musculoskeletal pathology, and effective treatment strategies. Recognized experts share evidence-based techniques in orthopaedic physical therapy evaluation, assessment, and intervention. The first monograph describes the multifaceted process of clinical reasoning and utilization of evidence-based practice physical therapy management. The remaining monographs each cover a major joint region of the body, from the cervical spine and temporomandibular joint to the foot and ankle. Each monograph concludes with case scenarios that require clinical problem solving and allows readers to compare their answers with the experts’ rationale.
ICF Project Published Guidelines: The purpose of these practice guidelines is to describe evidence-based orthopaedic physical therapy clinical practice and provide recommendations for (1) examination and diagnostic classification based on body functions and body structures, activity limitations, and participation restrictions, (2) prognosis, (3) interventions provided by physical therapists, and (4) assessment of outcome for common musculoskeletal disorders.
Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy: The official research journal of the orthopaedic section of the APTA. JOSPT publishes scientifically rigorous, clinically relevant content for physical therapists and others in the health care community to advance musculoskeletal and sports-related practice. At the very least, I would recommend glancing over the titles and abstracts of all articles published in the last 5 years and pulling out and reviewing the ones that you feel are relevant. It would be even better if your performed the same process for the last 10 years. Access to this journal is included with orthopaedic section membership, which is recommended if you are purchasing Current Concepts of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy. The reduction in price pays for itself. You want to be on top of the most current body of evidence, and there is no better place than the research journal of the orthopaedic section of the APTA.
The next items on the list are not mandatory, but will go a long way to reinforce key points and concepts when preparing for the OCS exam.
Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Secrets, 2nd Ed: The authors intend this text to be used as a reference for those studying for the specialist certification examination. The book is divided into 12 units with 78 chapters. The units cover basic science, electrotherapy and modalities, special topics, and each major anatomic region treated in orthopedic physical therapy. Chapters are brief and to the point on the topic covered. The authors assume that the reader has a basic knowledge of orthopedic content, so the content is for the person who wants to develop an expert’s knowledge base. The material, however, is presented in a way that encourages the reader to comprehend and digest facts rather than integrate them into clinical and critical thinking.
Orthopedic Physical Assessment, 6th Ed. David Magee: Thorough, evidence-based review of orthopedic physical assessment covers everything from basic science through clinical applications and special tests. 2,400 illustrations include full-color clinical photographs and drawings as well as radiographs, depicting key concepts along with assessment techniques and special tests. The use of icons to show the clinical utility of special tests supplemented by evidence – based reliability & validity tables for tests & techniques on the Evolve site. Quick-reference data includes hundreds of at-a-glance summary boxes, red-flag and yellow-flag boxes, differential diagnosis tables, muscle and nerve tables, and classification, normal values, and grading tables.
Dutton’s Orthopaedic Examination Evaluation and Intervention, 3rd Ed: A systematic, logical approach to the evaluation and intervention of the orthopedic patient. Comprehensive and up-to-date, Dutton’s strikes the perfect balance in its coverage of examination and treatment.For any intervention to be successful, an accurate diagnosis must be followed by a carefully planned and specific rehabilitation program to both the affected area and its related structure. This approach must take into consideration the structure involved and the stage of healing. Dutton’s Orthopaedic Examination, Evaluation, and Intervention emphasizes the appropriate use of manual techniques and therapeutic exercise based on these considerations. The correct applications of electrotherapeutic and thermal modalities are outlined throughout as adjuncts to the rehabilitative process. The content reflects the consistent, unified voice of a single author – a prominent practicing therapist who delivers step-by-step guidance on the examination of each joint and region. This in-depth coverage leads you logically through systems review and differential diagnosis, aided by decision-making algorithms
Orthopedic Manual Therapy 2nd Ed. Chad Cook: presents all modern foundations of orthopedic manual therapy, including patient management, clinical reasoning, reflective practice, and problem solving. Its comprehensive, regional approach to the body helps therapists synthesize new research, didactic knowledge, and clinical expertise. The text first systematically explains assessment, evaluation, treatment, and contraindications. Next, it offers in-depth insights into regional musculoskeletal conditions, supported by relevant anatomy, biomechanics, examination protocols, treatment techniques, and outcomes. Scientific research is analyzed to support the tests, techniques, and clinical reasoning presented.
The last items on this list are not specific to the OCS exam or even the practice of orthopaedic physical therapy. They do however represent scientific foundations in the field of physical therapy and would serve as a review source as needed. All of these titles could be substituted as foundational knowledge should not vary. I have included texts that I have found extremely valuable throughout my career, and I’m always looking for new suggestions. – Ryan Grella
- Netter’s Concise Orthopaedic Anatomy, 2nd Ed. Netter’s Concise Orthopaedic Anatomy is a best-selling, portable, full-color resource excellent to have on hand during your orthopaedic rotation, residency, or as a quick look-up in practice. Jon C. Thompson presents the latest data in thoroughly updated diagnostic and treatment algorithms for all conditions while preserving the popular at-a-glance table format from the previous edition. You’ll get even more art from the Netter Collection as well as new radiologic images that visually demonstrate the key clinical correlations and applications of anatomical imaging. For a fast, memorable review of orthopaedic anatomy, this is a must-have.
- Hollinshead’s Functional Anatomy of the Limbs and Back, 9th Ed. Learn everything you need to know about the anatomy of the limbs and back and how to apply the material to everyday activities and movements with this updated edition of the classic text. This user-friendly book is packed with detailed quick-reference tables and newly revised illustrations. Take advantage of expanded study questions and exercises at the end of each chapter to actively engage yourself in the learning process and enhance your comprehension of the material.
- Exercise Physiology: Nutrition, Energy, and Human Performance: Setting the standard for more than 30 years, Exercise Physiology has helped more than 350,000 students build a solid foundation in the scientific principles underlying modern exercise physiology. This Eighth Edition is updated with the latest research in the field to give you easy-to-understand, up-to-date coverage of how nutrition, energy transfer, and exercise training affect human performance.
- Kinesiology of the Musculoskeletal System: Foundations for Rehabilitation, 2nd Ed. Brilliantly and abundantly illustrated, this dynamic resource is the most comprehensive, research-based, reader-friendly text on kinesiology. An engaging approach explores the fundamental principles in vivid detail and clarifies the link between the structure and function of the musculoskeletal system to help you ensure a clear, confident understanding.
- Pathology: Implications for the Physical Therapist, 4th Ed: Understand how a patient’s conditions might affect physical therapy and outcomes so that you can design safe and effective interventions. The only pathology textbook written specifically for physical therapists, Pathology: Implications for the Physical Therapist, Third Edition, offers guidelines, precautions, and contraindications for interventions with patients who have musculoskeletal or neuromuscular problems as well as other conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or pancreatitis. Learn about the cause of these conditions, the pathogenesis, medical diagnosis and treatment, and most importantly, the special implications for the therapist. In addition to addressing specific diseases and conditions, this text emphasizes health promotion and disease prevention strategies and covers issues with implications for physical therapy management, such as injury, inflammation, and healing; the lymphatic system; and biopsychosocial-spiritual impacts on health care.
- Handbook of Fractures 5th Ed: One of the most widely used manuals of its kind, Handbook of Fractures, 5th Edition, is the ideal, on-the-spot reference for residents and practitioners seeking fast facts on fracture management and classification. Carry it with you for convenient access to the answers you need on complete fracture care of adults and children – from anatomy and mechanism of injury through clinical and radiologic evaluation and treatment.
- Pharmacology in Rehabilitation, 4th Edition (Contemporary Perspectives in Rehabilitation): Rely on the completely revised and thoroughly updated 4th Edition of this innovative textbook to insure that your students will be able to master this complex content with ease. Organized by body system, each chapter begins with a description of the drug…followed by an explanation of the conditions it treats…and ends with a discussion of how the drug affects physical therapy and how physical therapy may impact drug effectiveness. Dr. Ciccone’s easy-to-understand writing style demystifies the science and practice of pharmacology.