Benjamin Boyd

Associate Professor DPTSc, PT

Programs and Courses Taught

Doctor of Physical Therapy

PT 701: Capstone I
PT 702: Capstone II
PT 703: Capstone III
PT 704: Capstone IV
PT 711: Patient/Client Management I
PT 712: Patient/Client Management II
PT 716: Patient/Client Management III

About Me

I have been a physical therapist since 2002. I continue clinical practice in the bay area seeing clients with a wide range of injuries. My research focuses on the impact of diseases and injuries on peripheral nerve health including the effects of diabetes, breast cancer treatments and neuropathy on the sensitivity of the nervous system. I have been teaching in physical therapy programs since 2004 and have been a core faculty member in the Department of Physical Therapy at SMU since 2008.  


University of California, Santa Cruz; BA; Environmental Studies; 1995 University of California, San Francisco / San Francisco State University; MS; Physical Therapy; 2002 University of California, San Francisco / San Francisco State University; DPTSc; Physical Therapy; 2008

Teaching Interests

Since 2004, I have been teaching in courses focused on foundational knowledge (such as anatomy and research) as well as clinically applied courses (such as Musculoskeletal Patient/Client Management) in Physical Therapy programs. I particularly enjoy helping students learn the foundational principles of rehabilitation and apply them to clinical practice. I also am the coordinator for the capstone course series.  I currently have the unique opportunity to work with students from their first graduate school semester through to their last academic semester. I get great satisfaction out of seeing our SMU PT student's growth over their time in the PT program and have the privilege of being in a position to help facilitate their development into a professional health care practitioners.

Scholarly Interests

My research interests include the mechanosensitivity of the nervous system during limb movement and function through the use of neurodynamic testing. This includes examination of the biomechanical properties of the nervous system through ultrasound imaging and physiological responses to peripheral nerve movement through electromyographic, symptomatic and range of motion examinations. In particular, I am interested in the effects of nerve injury on nerve mobility, sensitivity and limb function. Recent studies have included the impact of peripheral neuropathy and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus on lower extremity mechanosensitivity. My current research focuses on the effects of breast cancer treatment on nerve health and sensitivity in the upper limbs as well as the impact of treatment on body image, fear and quality of life.  For more information click here: or to participate in our online study, click here:


Boyd BS. Psychometric properties of a hand-held inclinometer during straight leg raise neurodynamic testing. Physiother. 2012;98(2):174-179. 
Legakis A, Boyd BS. The influence of scapular depression on upper limb neurodynamic test responses. J Man Manip Ther. 2012;20(2):75-82. 
Topp KS, Boyd BS. Peripheral nerve: from the microscopic functional unit of the axon to the biomechanically loaded macroscopic structure. J Hand Ther. 2012;25(2): 142-151. 
Boyd BS, Gray AT, Dilley A, Wanek L, Topp KS. The pattern of tibial nerve excursion with active ankle dorsiflexion is different in older people with diabetes mellitus. Clin Biomech. 2012;27(9):967-971.
Boyd BS, Villa PS. Normal inter-limb differences during the straight leg raise neurodynamic test: a cross sectional study. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2012;13:245.
Boyd BS, Topp KS, Coppieters MW. Impact of movement sequencing on sciatic and tibial nerve strain and excursion during the straight leg raise test in embalmed cadavers. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2013;43(6):398-403.
Smoot B, Boyd BS, Byl NN, Dodd MJ. Mechanosensitivity in the upper limb following breast cancer treatment. J Hand Ther. 2014;27(1):4-11.
Boyd BS, Dilley A. Altered tibial nerve biomechanics in patients with diabetes mellitus. Muscle Nerve. 2014;50(2):216-223.
Boyd BS, Nee RJ, Smoot B. Safety of lower extremity neurodynamic exercises in adults with Diabetes Mellitus: a feasibility study.  J Man Manip Ther. 2017;25(1):30-38. 
Christensen N, Boyd B, Tonley J.  Clinical Reasoning and Evidence-Based Practice.  Current Concepts of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy.  4th ed.  Orthopaedic Section, APTA; 2016.
Nee RJ, Boyd BS, Coppieters MW.  Neurodynamic testing and treatment for the spine and extremities.  Book chapter. In press.  2018.
Broberg MA, Boyd BS, Backer T.  Reflections on early attempts to provide pain neuroscience education in conjunction with biopsychosocial care from the patient and interprofessional team perspectives.  J Humanities Rehab.  In press.  2018.

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

American Physical Therapy Association; Section membership: Orthopaedic

Honors & Awards

1995    Outstanding Student Employee Award, University of California, Santa Cruz
2002    Graduate Student Distinguished Achievement Award, San Francisco State University (MSPT)
2005 – 2006    Kean Graduate Fellowship Award, University of California, San Francisco
2005 – 2006    Mary McMillan Doctoral Scholarship Award, Foundation for Physical Therapy
2007 – 2008     Graduate Student Research Award, University of California, San Francisco
2008    Graduate Student Distinguished Achievement Award, San Francisco State University (DPTSc)
2012    First Time Writer's Award, The American Society of Hand Therapists, for paper entitled, “Common interlimb asymmetries and neurogenic responses during upper limb neurodynamic testing: implications for test interpretation”