Envelope of Function and Physical Stress Theory

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Intended Audience:

Physical Therapists, Physical Therapy Assistants, Athletic Trainers, and students of those fields

Contact Hours 1.0/CEU 1.0

This course meets the standards for 1.0 hours of continuing education by most state physical therapy boards. Please contact your state board for details on their specific requirements.

The Science PT (BOC AP#: P3211) is approved by the Board of Certification, Inc. to provide continuing education to Athletic Trainers. This program is eligible for a maximum of 1.0 Category A hours/CEU.

Presenter: Erik Meira & JW Matheson


The concepts of Envelope of Function and Physical Stress Theory are very useful in rehabilitation applications. We review these constructs and give ideas for use in the clinic.


Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Explain the Physical Stress Theory and how it relates to specific musculoskeletal injuries
  • Explain the term “envelope of function” and use examples that an athlete with an overuse injury would understand
  • Be able to list intrinsic and extrinsic factors that may influence local and systemic tissue adaptations to physical stress

Reference List

  1. Dye SF. The Knee as a Biologic Transmission With an Envelope of Function: A Theory. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. 1996;325:10-18. doi:10.1097/00003086-199604000-00003
  2. Dye SF. The Pathophysiology of Patellofemoral Pain: A Tissue Homeostasis Perspective. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. 2005;NA;(436):100-110. doi:10.1097/01.blo.0000172303.74414.7d
  3. Dye SF, Vaupel GL, Dye CC. Conscious Neurosensory Mapping of the Internal Structures of the Human Knee Without Intraarticular Anesthesia. Am J Sports Med. 1998;26(6):773-777. doi:10.1177/03635465980260060601
  4. Mueller MJ, Maluf KS. Tissue Adaptation to Physical Stress: A Proposed “Physical Stress Theory” to Guide Physical Therapist Practice, Education, and Research. Physical Therapy. 2002;82(4):383-403. doi:10.1093/ptj/82.4.383
  5. Post W, Dye S. Patellofemoral pain: an enigma explained by homeostasis and common sense. Am J Orthop. 2017;46:92–100.


$25 (USD)

Click here to enroll now!