Quick Summary

I. Introduction

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the top 50 physical therapy CPT codes and ICD-10 codes cheat sheet! If you’re involved in medical coding, you know just how crucial it is to have a handy reference to streamline the process. Here at SuperBill, we understand the importance of saving time and money, which is why we’ve compiled this exhaustive list of commonly used codes in physical therapy.

Why Medical Coding Matters:
According to the American Physical Therapy Association, there are over 300 million physical therapy sessions conducted annually. With the profession projected to grow by 17% by 2031, accurate medical coding plays a pivotal role in ensuring smooth billing and reimbursement processes.

What You’ll Find in This Guide:
In this article, we’ll delve into the intricacies of physical therapy ICD-10 codes and CPT codes. We’ll explain what these codes are, why they’re important, and how to use them effectively in your practice. Whether you’re billing for evaluations, therapeutic exercises, or modalities, we’ve got you covered with comprehensive information and practical tips.

Now, let’s dive into the world of physical therapy coding and equip ourselves with the knowledge we need to succeed!

II. What Are Physical Therapy ICD-10 Codes?

Understanding the Backbone of Medical Coding

The International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10) serves as a universal system for classifying and coding diagnoses. In the realm of physical therapy, ICD-10 codes are invaluable tools used to identify and categorize various ailments and conditions affecting patients.

Significance of ICD-10 Codes:
ICD-10 codes provide a standardized language that facilitates communication between medical providers and insurers. By using consistent terminology, healthcare professionals can accurately describe patients’ conditions and ensure proper billing and reimbursement.

Transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10:
In 2015, the healthcare industry made the transition from the outdated ICD-9 coding system to the more comprehensive ICD-10 system. This transition brought about significant improvements in coding specificity and accuracy, allowing for more precise documentation of patient diagnoses.

Looking Ahead to ICD-11:
While ICD-11 has been implemented in some countries, the United States has yet to adopt it. Therefore, it’s essential to continue using ICD-10 codes until further notice. Rest assured, we’ll keep you updated on any developments regarding the transition to ICD-11.

Navigating the ICD-10 Code Set:
With over 1,000 pages of codes and descriptors, the full ICD-10 code set can seem daunting. That’s where cheat sheets like ours come in handy. We’ve curated a list of the most commonly used ICD-10 codes in physical therapy, making it easier for you to find and utilize the codes you need.

Stay tuned as we explore the specific ICD-10 codes commonly used in physical therapy practice, from shoulder pain to low back pain and everything in between!

III. Common ICD-10 Codes for Physical Therapy

In the realm of physical therapy, ICD-10 codes play a pivotal role in accurately documenting patient diagnoses and guiding treatment plans. Let’s explore some of the most frequently encountered ICD-10 codes in physical therapy practice, categorized by anatomical region:

1. Shoulder

  • ICD-10 M25.511: Pain in right shoulder
    • Also known as: Shoulder pain, right side
  • ICD-10 M25.512: Pain in left shoulder
    • Also known as: Shoulder pain, left side

2. Hip

  • ICD-10 M25.551: Pain in right hip
    • Also known as: Hip pain, right side
  • ICD-10 M25.552: Pain in left hip
    • Also known as: Hip pain, left side

3. Knee

  • ICD-10 M25.561: Pain in right knee
    • Also known as: Knee pain, right side
  • ICD-10 M25.562: Pain in left knee
    • Also known as: Knee pain, left side

4. Back

  • ICD-10 M54.5: Low back pain
    • Also known as: Loin pain, Lumbago NOS
  • ICD-10 M54.6: Pain in thoracic spine
    • Also known as: Thoracic spine pain

5. Extremities

  • ICD-10 M79.601: Pain in right arm
    • Also known as: Pain in right upper limb NOS
  • ICD-10 M79.602: Pain in left arm
    • Also known as: Pain in left upper limb NOS
  • ICD-10 M79.604: Pain in right leg
    • Also known as: Pain in right lower limb NOS
  • ICD-10 M79.605: Pain in left leg
    • Also known as: Pain in left lower limb NOS

6. Other Conditions

  • ICD-10 M53.3: Sacrococcygeal disorders, not elsewhere classified
    • Also known as: Coccygodynia
  • ICD-10 M54.89: Other dorsalgia
    • Also known as: Other types of back pain

7. Sprains and Strains

  • ICD-10 S93.40R: Sprain and strain of right ankle: part unspecified
    • Also known as: Right ankle sprain, unspecified
  • ICD-10 S93.40L: Sprain and strain of left ankle: part unspecified
    • Also known as: Left ankle sprain, unspecified

8. Dislocations and Ruptures

  • ICD-10 S93.0R: Dislocation of right ankle
    • Also known as: Right ankle dislocation
  • ICD-10 S93.2R: Rupture of ligaments at right ankle/foot level
    • Also known as: Right ankle ligament rupture

These are just a few examples of the myriad ICD-10 codes used in physical therapy practice. Each code corresponds to a specific diagnosis or condition, providing healthcare providers with essential information for effective treatment planning and documentation.

Stay tuned as we continue to explore more common ICD-10 codes for physical therapy, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or need further clarification on any of the codes listed above!

IV. What Are Physical Therapy CPT Codes?

In the intricate world of medical billing and coding, Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes serve as the cornerstone for documenting and billing for medical services rendered. Let’s delve into what physical therapy CPT codes are, why they’re essential, and how they differ from ICD-10 codes.

Understanding CPT Codes

CPT codes, developed and maintained by the American Medical Association (AMA), are a standardized system used to describe medical, surgical, and diagnostic services provided by healthcare professionals. Unlike ICD-10 codes, which focus on diagnosing conditions, CPT codes specify the procedures and services rendered during patient encounters.

Role of CPT Codes in Physical Therapy

In the context of physical therapy, CPT codes encompass a wide range of services, from evaluations and assessments to therapeutic interventions and modalities. These codes allow physical therapists to accurately document the procedures performed during treatment sessions and facilitate billing and reimbursement processes with insurance providers.

Key Differences from ICD-10 Codes

While both CPT and ICD-10 codes are essential components of medical coding, they serve distinct purposes:

  • ICD-10 Codes: Identify and classify patient diagnoses or conditions.
  • CPT Codes: Describe the specific services or procedures performed in response to those diagnoses.

Billing and Reimbursement

Proper utilization of CPT codes is critical for ensuring accurate billing and reimbursement. Each CPT code corresponds to a specific procedure or service, and healthcare providers must document these services accurately to receive appropriate reimbursement from insurance companies.

Navigating Time Units and the 8-Minute Rule

One unique aspect of billing for physical therapy services is the concept of time-based billing. Many procedures, such as therapeutic exercises and manual therapy techniques, are billed based on the time spent delivering the service. Understanding how to bill time units correctly, along with adherence to the 8-minute rule (whereby a minimum of 8 minutes of direct patient contact must be documented to bill for one time-based service), is crucial for maximizing reimbursement and avoiding billing errors.

Examples of Physical Therapy CPT Codes

Here are some examples of common CPT codes used in physical therapy practice:

  • 97110: Therapeutic exercises
  • 97140: Manual therapy techniques
  • 97035: Ultrasound/Phonophoresis
  • 97530: Therapeutic Activities

Each of these codes represents a specific type of service or intervention provided during a physical therapy session.

Stay tuned as we explore more about physical therapy CPT codes, including how to bill time units effectively and common coding pitfalls to avoid. If you’re ready to enhance your understanding of medical coding in physical therapy, you’re in the right place!

V. How to Bill Time Units in PT CPT Codes

Billing for physical therapy services often involves documenting the time spent delivering various interventions and therapies. Understanding how to bill time units correctly is essential for accurate reimbursement and compliance with billing regulations. Let’s explore the ins and outs of billing time units in physical therapy CPT codes:

1. Understanding Time-Based Billing

Many physical therapy procedures are billed based on the amount of time spent providing the service. This includes therapeutic exercises, manual therapy techniques, and modalities such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation.

2. Standard Time Units

The American Medical Association (AMA) defines standard time units for billing purposes. Each unit corresponds to a specific duration of time, typically 15 minutes. Therefore, a one-hour session would be billed as four time units.

3. The 8-Minute Rule

According to the 8-minute rule, a minimum of 8 minutes of direct patient contact must be documented to bill for one time-based service. If the total time spent on a particular service falls below 8 minutes, it cannot be billed separately.

4. Documenting Time

Healthcare providers must accurately document the time spent delivering each service to ensure compliance with billing regulations. This documentation should include the start and end times of each service, as well as any interruptions or breaks in treatment.

5. Examples of Time-Based Services

Here are some examples of time-based services commonly billed in physical therapy:

  • Therapeutic Exercises (CPT code 97110): Each 15-minute segment of therapeutic exercises can be billed as one time unit.
  • Manual Therapy Techniques (CPT code 97140): Similarly, each 15-minute segment of manual therapy can be billed as one time unit.
  • Ultrasound/Phonophoresis (CPT code 97035): The total duration of ultrasound therapy should be documented, and the appropriate number of time units billed based on the total time spent.

6. Non-Time-Based Services

It’s important to note that not all physical therapy services are billed based on time units. Some procedures, such as evaluations and assessments, are billed per session rather than per time unit.

7. Avoiding Billing Errors

To avoid billing errors and potential audits, healthcare providers should ensure that documentation accurately reflects the time spent delivering each service. Additionally, staying informed about billing regulations and updates from insurance carriers is essential for compliant billing practices.

8. Utilizing Practice Management Software

Practice management software can streamline the billing process by automatically tracking time spent on each service and generating accurate billing reports. Investing in robust software solutions can help ensure efficient billing practices and minimize administrative burdens.

By understanding how to bill time units effectively and adhering to the 8-minute rule, physical therapy practices can optimize reimbursement and maintain compliance with billing regulations. Stay tuned as we continue to explore best practices for medical coding in physical therapy!

VI. Common CPT Codes for Physical Therapy

Physical therapy CPT codes encompass a wide range of services provided during treatment sessions. From evaluations and assessments to therapeutic exercises and modalities, understanding these codes is essential for accurate billing and reimbursement. Let’s explore some of the most commonly used CPT codes in physical therapy practice:

1. Therapeutic Exercises (CPT Code 97110)

Therapeutic exercises are fundamental to physical therapy interventions, aiming to improve strength, flexibility, endurance, and coordination. This code covers exercises designed to restore function and enhance mobility in patients with musculoskeletal conditions.

2. Manual Therapy Techniques (CPT Code 97140)

Manual therapy involves hands-on techniques performed by physical therapists to mobilize joints, manipulate soft tissues, and alleviate pain. This code encompasses various manual therapy interventions, including joint mobilization, soft tissue mobilization, and manual traction.

3. Neuromuscular Re-Education (CPT Code 97112)

Neuromuscular re-education focuses on improving proprioception, balance, coordination, and motor control in patients with neurological or musculoskeletal impairments. This code covers activities aimed at enhancing neuromuscular function and restoring optimal movement patterns.

4. Therapeutic Activities (CPT Code 97530)

Therapeutic activities involve dynamic, functional tasks designed to improve mobility, strength, and endurance. This code encompasses activities such as gait training, balance exercises, and functional mobility tasks tailored to the individual needs of the patient.

5. Ultrasound/Phonophoresis (CPT Code 97035)

Ultrasound therapy utilizes high-frequency sound waves to promote tissue healing, reduce inflammation, and alleviate pain. This code covers the application of ultrasound for therapeutic purposes, including phonophoresis, which involves the delivery of medication through ultrasound.

6. Gait Training (CPT Code 97116)

Gait training focuses on improving walking patterns and mobility in individuals with gait abnormalities or impairments. This code encompasses exercises and interventions aimed at enhancing balance, coordination, and functional mobility during walking activities.

7. Massage Therapy (CPT Code 97124)

Massage therapy involves the manual manipulation of soft tissues to alleviate pain, reduce muscle tension, and promote relaxation. This code covers various massage techniques, including effleurage, petrissage, and deep tissue massage, performed by trained physical therapists.

8. Group Therapy (CPT Code 97150)

Group therapy involves conducting therapy sessions with multiple patients simultaneously, providing an opportunity for peer interaction and social support. This code encompasses group-based exercises, activities, and interventions led by a physical therapist.

9. Evaluation and Management Services

In addition to therapeutic interventions, physical therapists also provide evaluation and management services to assess patients’ conditions, develop treatment plans, and monitor progress over time. Evaluation codes, such as 97161, 97162, and 97163, are used to document initial and subsequent evaluations based on the complexity of the patient’s condition.

10. Re-Evaluation (CPT Code 97164)

Re-evaluation codes are used to assess and document changes in a patient’s condition or treatment plan during follow-up visits. This code covers comprehensive re-evaluations conducted to adjust treatment goals, modify interventions, or address new concerns.

By familiarizing yourself with these common CPT codes, you’ll be better equipped to navigate the complexities of physical therapy billing and documentation. Stay tuned as we continue to explore best practices for medical coding in physical therapy practice!

VII. Further Reading and Resources

For those eager to delve deeper into the world of physical therapy coding and billing, here are some valuable resources and additional reading materials:

  1. American Physical Therapy Association (APTA): The APTA offers a wealth of resources, including educational materials, webinars, and online courses covering various aspects of physical therapy practice and billing.
  2. CMS.gov: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) website provides comprehensive information on coding and billing guidelines, including updates to CPT and ICD-10 codes, reimbursement policies, and billing regulations.
  3. Medical Coding Books: Investing in reputable medical coding books, such as the “CPT Professional Edition” and “ICD-10-CM Expert for Physicians,” can serve as valuable references for understanding coding guidelines and procedures.
  4. Online Forums and Communities: Engaging with online forums and communities dedicated to medical coding and billing, such as the APTA Member Forum or Coding and Billing Groups on social media platforms, allows for peer support, networking, and knowledge sharing.
  5. Continuing Education Courses: Participating in continuing education courses and workshops focused on physical therapy coding and billing ensures that healthcare professionals stay up-to-date with the latest developments and best practices in the field.

VIII. Conclusion

Navigating the complexities of medical coding and billing in the realm of physical therapy requires diligence, attention to detail, and a commitment to ongoing learning. By mastering common CPT and ICD-10 codes, understanding how to bill time units effectively, and staying informed about billing regulations and best practices, physical therapists can optimize reimbursement, minimize billing errors, and enhance the overall efficiency of their practices.

As you continue your journey in the world of physical therapy coding and billing, remember the importance of accuracy, compliance, and patient-centered care. By prioritizing these principles, you’ll not only ensure financial viability for your practice but also deliver high-quality care that positively impacts patient outcomes.


  • American Physical Therapy Association. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.apta.org/
  • Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.cms.gov/
  • American Medical Association. (n.d.). CPT Professional Edition.

Author’s Note

As a physical therapist myself, I understand the importance of accurate coding and billing practices in ensuring the financial health of a practice while delivering optimal patient care. Throughout my years of experience in the field, I’ve encountered various challenges and complexities associated with medical coding and billing, which have inspired me to share my knowledge and insights with fellow healthcare professionals.

This blog post is intended to serve as a comprehensive guide for physical therapists and healthcare providers seeking to enhance their understanding of CPT and ICD-10 codes, billing procedures, and reimbursement strategies. By incorporating practical tips, real-world examples, and valuable resources, I aim to empower readers to navigate the intricacies of medical coding with confidence and proficiency.

I encourage readers to approach medical coding and billing as an ongoing learning process and to leverage the available resources and support networks to stay informed and up-to-date with industry changes and best practices. Together, we can strive towards excellence in patient care and practice management, ultimately improving outcomes for both providers and patients alike.

Best regards,

Brief Note about the author.

Kimbowa Geofrey
Business & Financial Analyst

I am Kimbowa Geofrey, a go-getter, It is my passion that drives me in all I do but also the personal improvement that I experience.
My story started about 8 years back, trying one business to another, it wasn’t easy at the start because I didn’t get exactly what I expected out of these businesses and my frustration grew. Luckily I stumbled upon three businesses that changed my life; Web hosting, web development, and blogging.
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