Functional movement screening is a tool used to identify asymmetries that can result in movement deficiencies, such as imbalances in mobility or stability. It can pinpoint an individual’s functional deficits, acting as a benchmark for health professionals to evaluate, treat, predict, and prevent injuries. With information from a screening, exercise programming and injury prevention strategies are tailored to be more effective.
A traditional functional movement screening examines seven movement patterns – deep squat, hurdle step, in-line lunge, shoulder mobility, active straight leg raise, trunk stability push-up, and rotary stability – and assigns a score from 0 to 3. The physical therapist may be specifically interested in one side of the body and/or in a subset of the movements.
Functional movement screening can be implemented in various contexts, such as a physical examination, rehabilitation, or athletic performance evaluations. It is an important tool because it:
- Assesses natural patterns of movement
- Identifies movement limitations and dysfunction
- Guides exercise/rehabilitation regimens for improving functional movement
- Helps prevent injury
This screening is not designed to be performed by people with serious pain or injury, though it can investigate underlying dysfunction when a patient is experiencing limited mobility or discomfort.