Improve Movement Quality with a Functional Movement Screen

The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) is used to evaluate movement pattern quality for clients or athletes. The best part of FMS is that a physical therapist can learn the system and have a simple and quantifiable method of evaluating basic movement abilities. The FMS requires the ability to observe basic movement patterns already familiar to the coach or trainer.

The key to the Functional Movement Screen is that it consists of a series of tests with a grading system. The FMS is not intended to diagnose orthopedic problems but to demonstrate limitations or asymmetries in healthy individuals with respect to basic movement patterns and eventually correlate them with outcomes. The FMS allows evaluation with tools and movement patterns that readily make sense to both the client and the trainer or coach.

What is FMS?

The test is comprised of seven fundamental movement patterns that require a balance of mobility and stability. These tests place the patient in extreme positions where weaknesses and imbalances become noticeable, and stability and mobility is not up to par.

The tests include:

  • Deep squat
  • Hurdle step
  • In-line lunge
  • Shoulder mobility
  • Active straight leg raise
  • Trunk stability push up
  • Rotary stability

These tests have certain criteria that must be accomplished in order to obtain a high score. The scoring is broken down into four basic criteria:

  • A score of 3 means the individual can perform the movement without any compensations according to the established criteria
  • A score of 2 means individual can perform the movement but must utilize poor mechanics and compensatory patterns to accomplish the movement
  • A score of 1 means the individual cannot perform the movement pattern even with compensations
  • A score of 0 means the individual has pain during any part of the movement or test.

This assessment tool helps to pinpoint the individual’s compensatory movement problems, allowing for easy identification.

The FMS is an important part of an examination to determine problems that may be overlooked during the traditional medical evaluations. Muscle flexibility and strength imbalances can be identified using the FMS. This movement-based assessment will pinpoint functional deficits related to proprioceptive, mobility, and stability weaknesses. If these risk factors can be pinpointed utilizing the FMS, therapists can work toward fixing the problems, speeding recovery time.

At IMPACT Physical Therapy, we want the best for all of our patients. Our therapists are fully trained in functional movement system. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about FMS or would like to make an appointment.