Functional Movement Screen and Health Fair Update

By: Dr. Laura Wenger, PT, OCS

One of the fun things that we get to involve ourselves in within the community is participating in health fairs. Over the past year, representatives for Tomsic PT have made their way to various health fairs, such as in local companies like StoneAge and La Plata Electric Association as well as the La Plata County Health Fair for county employees. One of our favorite things to do at health fairs, besides meet you all and teach you about various benefits of physical therapy, is the Functional Movement ScreenTM. This is especially the case in regards to our PT, Jeff Yaskin, PT, MPT, MTC, CSCS as he achieved his certification in the Functional Movement ScreenTM in 2011.

Some of you may be wondering, “Great, but what is the Functional Movement ScreenTM (FMSTM) ???”. The idea behind the FMSTM is that it can be used as “a screening test [used] to identify specific movement dysfunctions that may be related to musculoskeletal injury risk.”1 The screen looks at seven movement tests that are meant to assess overall body mobility, stability, coordination, and postural control, with a score associated with each test.1 After each test is performed and graded, the scores are added together to come up with a final score that may be used as an indicator of injury risk.1 Of note, the test is meant to be used on an uninjured person, as the presence of pain on any test requires an automatic score of zero with further assessment recommended.1 That’s why we think this is a great screening tool to use at health fairs since we do end up speaking with a large amount of folks who aren’t yet injured and wonder how physical therapy can be beneficial for them.

There is a lot of research out there regarding the FMSTM, but a recent study sought to find out whether or not the performance of just one of the seven tests that makes up the screening could be used to predict performance on the entire FMSTM.1 The reasoning behind this study was so that the researchers could attempt to identify one of the tests as a “red flag” tool to be used quickly and easily to fast-track the need for further assessment regarding heightened risk of injury.1 The researchers found that there may be a meaningful relationship between the performance of the deep squat test (see the picture below) with the overall FMSTM score in the sense that better scores on the deep squat were related to better FMSTM performance overall.1 They also found that the converse would be true in that the odds of scoring poorly on the FMS (indicating potentially higher risk of injury) were 3.56 time greater for the individuals who scored poorly on the deep squat test.1

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You may notice that most of our PTs already use the deep squat test during our evaluations of various lower extremity and spine problems, and this research backs up the fact that our assessment of this may be helping us build a better idea of what an individual’s risk for injury or overall functional movement (or dysfunctional movement) is like.1 To learn more about the FMSTM and how it may help us identify your risk for injury (or how to guide our treatment if you are already injured), give us a call to schedule an appointment with any of our qualified PTs.

  1. Clifton DR, Grooms DR, Onate JA. Overhead Deep Squat Performance Predicts Functional Movement ScreenTM Score. Intl J Sports Phys Ther. 2015;10(5):622-627.