195 W Lancaster Ave #3
Paoli, PA 19301

Functional Movement Assessment

Functional Movement Assessments and Corrective Exercise

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At Christine F. Hayes, P.T., P.C. we believe that every injury is interconnected to other dysfunctions you may be having elsewhere in your body. When you come in for a specific injury, you will not only receive the very best care to heal that particular problem, but we will also conduct a “Functional Movement Assessment” to shine a light on other areas that may be contributing to your injury indirectly.

A Functional Movement Assessment is a head to toe movement and stability test designed to highlight areas of pain, decreased strength, poor flexibility, and decreased motor control or stability.


For example, a patient with a tennis elbow may feel the pain, decreased strength and potential loss of motion is located primarily at the elbow. Our highly trained PT’s may also find gross compensations at the neck, shoulders and mid-back (to name a few) based on your functional movement assessment. If these areas are not assessed and treated with corrective exercise, the gains you may have made with your tennis elbow are likely to recur. The tennis elbow is the overcompensation for weaker links elsewhere in the body.

Many of our low back and SI joint patients, after being analyzed via the Functional Movement Assessment are demonstrating significant issues stabilizing their hips and pelvis when performing the single leg balance or deep squat part of our assessment. If they were to return to activities of daily living or their sport without the corrective exercises to address the stability needed for balance and squatting etc., their success would likely be short-lived. Again a painfree stable back needs to be supported by other areas working together in the most efficient way. When other areas are deficient, the system breaks down. Although the pain may show up as Low Back Pain etc., the contributing factors elsewhere in the body play a key role in the failing system.

The first functional movement test we typically perform with folks who are in pain is the SFMA or Select Functional Movement Assessment. This is a 7 tier test which looks at movement and stability from head to toe. This gives our physical therapists valuable information on contributing dysfunctional movement which may be hindering full recovery from injuries and/or which may be a leading factor in injury recurrence. The SFMA is appropriate for most populations including the elderly.

The Select Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) is a 7 tier test:

  • Movements of the Cervical Spine (head and neck)
  • Upper Extremity Patterns (shoulder and scapula/wing bone)
  • Multi-Segmental Flexion (all areas of spine, hips, knees, ankles & supporting muscles)
  • Multi-Segmental Extension (all areas of spine, hips, knees, ankles, shoulders & supporting muscles)
  • Multi-Segmental Rotation (all areas of spine, shoulders, hips, knees, ankles and supporting muscles)
  • Single Leg Stance (core, spinal and hip stabilization, knees, ankles). Incorporates higher level function, vestibular system and proprioception.
  • Overhead Deep Squat (all areas of spine, core stability, shoulders, hips, knees, ankles and supporting muscles) Incorporates higher level function, vestibular and proprioceptive system.



For higher level athletes, those physically fit or those with physically demanding jobs, we also will perform the FMS or Functional Movement Screen. This is an advanced test which requires a fair amount of balance for testing. The FMS quickly highlights core and reflex instabilities throughout the spine, pelvis, and lower extremities for higher level activities. This testing is essential prior to clearing athletes to return to sport activities to reduce the risk for injury and to promote optimal performance.

SFMA and FMS testing allows our therapists to clearly match their intervention to your specific problem areas. Finding the root cause of your pain and dysfunction is critical to returning you to the things you love!

Functional Movement Testing will be performed on all physical therapy patients before discharge as part of their holistic intervention. Corrective exercises will be implemented for your complete care and healing.

Functional Movement Assessments and Advanced Dynamic Movement Testing will also be offered by appointment as a Wellness Screen for members of the community interested in enhancing sport performance and injury prevention!

Call for an appointment today at 610-695-9913!

One of many Success Stories:

“I tore my ACL playing softball. After surgery, I did some research and went to the most convenient and closest PT practice near my home for therapy. After 3 ½ months of working very hard and mostly on my own, I was told it was time to advance my workouts and honestly I wasn’t confident that I was ready. I reached out to Christine and she recommended coming to Paoli for a Functional Movement Screen to give a baseline on my healing and guidance on my next step. The Functional Movement Screen was an eye-opener into movement patterns that were still problematic, stability issues I didn’t realize I had and even found an old hip injury that needed attention! Had I jumped back into running and high level sport competition before having this screen and the necessary corrective exercises, I think I would have had difficulty, possibly even re-injury! After a few weeks of targeted corrective exercise, I am on my way back to the field! Thank you Christine Hayes, Physical Therapy for a job well done!”———–Sheila Stankina