Rater Reliability of the Functional Movement Screen: An Evidence-to-Practice Review
Keywords:Preparticipation Exams and Screening, Injury Risk Reduction, Functional Testing
The purpose of this evidence-to-practice review is to summarize a systematic review on the inter- and intrarater reliability of the Functional Movement Screen (FMS). Reliability is crucial to the FMS, as clinicians may retest to view a patient’s changes and improvements in movement patterns. This review and analysis looked at 7 studies which showed that both inter- and intrarater reliability were good. Studies were only included if the primary focus was on inter- and intrarater reliability. Clinicians had varying levels of familiarity with the FMS process. Athletic training students with less than one year to no experience were found to have poor reliability. The findings also supported that clinicians who treated the same patient would have similar results about 80% of the time. The same clinician completing several screenings with the different patient would have reliable results about 85% of the time. Interrater reliability is an important aspect to a clinician’s ability to monitor progress or modifications that a patient may exhibit. Overall, the FMS has good inter- and intrarater reliability and can be a predictor of injury risk and mobility. For both inter- and intrarater reliability to improve, it is beneficial for clinicians to have clinical experience and practice using the test to aid in accurate scoring. Certification in FMS is a way to develop repetition training from a reliable source, but it is unclear from these studies if certification changes reliability. The FMS screening serves as a useful tool because it allows for unlimited testing, video recordings for patient education or additional clinician evaluation, and is reliable among clinicians. We suggest that components of the FMS be used clinically for injury prevention, such as pre-participation exams and return-to-play criteria for injuries if scored by a formally trained clinician with experience assessing patient functional movement.
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