Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

Evidence Supports Not Using FMS To Predict Future Injury

April 21, 2017


The functional movement screen was designed to screen athletes and individuals on both upper and lower body movement tasks in order to identify those at risk for future injury.  As participants move through the 7 movement tasks, Physical Therapists are able to identify areas of weakness, tightness, or decreased coordination.  Based on these results exercises or manual therapy interventions are provided to help improve an individual’s performance on a test.  The FMS was initially shown to be a predictor of injury in both NFL draft prospects and firefighters, but has not held up as well in future research.

Previous review articles have called into question the validity of these tests for athletic performance and testing, as well as, their ability to predict injury.  A recent review article of the available evidence was conducted to determine if an individual’s composite scores are predictive of future injury (Moran et al. Br J Sp Med. 2017).  The authors 24 studies on the FMS and found the relationship between a cut off score of 14 out of 21 and future injury was small.  Further their was moderate evidence to recommend not using the FMS as a prediction test in soccer and conflicting evidence for other sports.  This study adds to the existing literature moving away from using the FMS for injury prediction, but single tests may hold value for certain sports and patient populations.