7 Movement Patterns in a Functional Movement Screen™

Your physical therapist needs to know what your body is capable of doing. Fortunately, the Functional Movement Screen™ (FMS) does this, enabling our team at Empire Physical Therapy & Athletic Rehabilitation to spot instability and vulnerabilities in your movement patterns that not only compromise your performance in sports, but contribute to everyday pain and injury risk.

Our PTs, Billy Reilly and Paul LaRosa, put our patients first, and the FMS is a critical component of our approach to treating patients.  

About the Functional Movement Screen and why we use it

The Functional Movement Screen was developed in the mid-1990s, mainly for high school and college athletes, but the physical therapy world soon realized the test could benefit everyone, athletes and non-athletes alike. 

You don’t have to be engaged in playing a sport to require help with movement problems that limit your mobility, cause pain, and affect your quality of life. 

The FMS gives us a baseline level of information on your ability to move on which we can base our treatment plan, and you can establish your goals in partnership with your PT. 

During the FMS, we identify if you perform movements in an imbalanced way, have stability challenges, or are just moving incorrectly. 

What does the Functional Movement Screen consist of?

During your FMS, we gently guide you through a series of seven movements and rate each of those movements on a scale of zero to three.

The hurdle step

You hold a dowel behind your neck and put your weight on one leg as you lift and move the other. Next, you bend your knee while you step over an object we place at a certain height and lower your heel to the floor in front of you. Then return that leg to a standing position alongside your other leg.  

The hurdle step test shows us how stable your hips, knees, and ankles are and your level of mobility. 

The deep squat

You place your feet shoulder-width apart, hold the dowel above your head with your arms outstretched, and bend your knees deeply so that the bottom half of your body is very near the floor. Return to a normal standing position after a few seconds.

We ascertain your level of overall body control and your knee, ankle, and hip stability. We also evaluate your shoulder, spine, pelvis, and core stability.

The in-line lunge

During this test, you hold the dowel vertically behind your back, with one arm grasping the lower end behind your back and the other holding the upper end, behind your neck. 

Place one knee on the floor with your toes behind you while bending your other leg at the knee at a right angle, with your foot flat on the ground and toes facing forward.  

We assess your hip, foot, ankle, and knee mobility and stability, as well as your spine stability with this test.

Rotary stability

This test requires a complex series of movements while you are on your knees, and as you perform them, you shift your weight and move both your upper and lower body. 

We glean much information from this test about your coordination level and how stable your core, shoulders, and pelvis are. 

Shoulder stability

You extend your arms straight out on either side, make fists, and bring one arm over your shoulder to your back and extend the other behind your lower back. A key thing we note is the proximity of your hands to each other.  

We see your range of motion and how your shoulder blades and upper and middle back work together, among other things.

Trunk stability pushup

This is a standard pushup, in which you keep your spine and hips still. The test gives us information about your core strength and stability, and your upper body’s flexibility and strength.

Active straight leg raise

This involves lying on your back and lifting and extending one leg straight up while the other remains flat. 

We learn many things, from how tight your hamstrings are to pinpointing the cause of back pain.  

Getting treatment

If your FMS score is under 14, we create a plan to reduce your injury risk and enhance your mobility, whether you’re an athlete or your work requires physical labor. We can also help you with chronic pain issues and address discomfort stemming from injuries that didn’t heal properly. 

Balance is especially important as you age, and the FMS can help us create a plan for better balance, too. 

Call us to learn more, or book  a consultation online at our Manhattan, New York, office. We’re located in Midtown East.

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