The Functional Movement Screen and Injury Risk in Sporting Populations: An Evidence-to-Practice Review


  • Taylor R. Niles University of South Carolina
  • Federico Rossi University of South Carolina
  • Zachary K Winkelmann University of South Carolina



Preparticipation Exams and Screening, Functional Testing, Injury Risk Reduction


The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) is a functional test, which aims to identify dysfunctional, asymmetrical, and painful movements that could contribute to future injuries. Medical professionals can clinically use this information to implement appropriate, specialized prehabilitation training aimed at reducing the dysfunctional, asymmetrical, and painful movements, to help prevent injury risk. Research on this tool, however, has contradictory findings regarding FMS composite score and future risk of injury. It is unclear to what extent FMS can predict those with future injury risk, and whether there are factors, such as age, sex, or sport-type, which may be contributing to these varying findings. Therefore, the purpose of this review was to identify which factors, if any, may contribute to the contradictory findings regarding the relationship between FMS composite score and subsequent injury risk in physically active populations. The review aimed to include any study which performed an FMS test at baseline on physically active individuals competing at any level, and determined risk groups based on composite scores, using odds ratios, sensitivity, and specificity as outcome measures. Subgroups were assessed based on athlete age, sex, sport-type, injury definition and injury mechanism. Reviewed participants were split into two age groups, senior (18+ years old) and junior (9-18 years old) athletes. It was found that age, sex, and sport-type explained some of the variable findings in the literature, however, effect sizes were often small in magnitude. Functional Movement Screen composite scores and asymmetry seemed to be the most useful in estimating injury risk for senior athletes, as well as individuals participating in rugby, American football, and ice hockey. There were many gaps identified in the research that may help get a consensus on optimal populations and uses for FMS. Thus, we recommend utilizing appropriate clinical judgment when determining if FMS would be a beneficial tool for identifying those with higher injury risk at your clinical site and with your patient population.






Evidence to Practice Reviews

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