One of the main reasons so many people who love to ski, snowshoe and ice skate move to Colorado is for our amazing winters. These winter sports are thrilling, relaxing and everything in between, but lower body muscle weakness, balance issues on slippery surfaces and poor flexibility can cause injuries and most commonly we tend to see a significant number of knee and shoulder injuries. Treatment for these injuries tends to be costly both from a financial and time perspective. It is not unusual for someone to miss the entire winter sports season from one injury, but these injuries can be prevented. The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) can help those who are at risk of injury know what their weaknesses are to improve them.
Functional Movement Screen 101
FMS was developed in 1995 by physical therapist Gray Cook and his colleague Dr Lee Burton, a certified athletic trainer with a doctorate in health performance and wellness. The screen looks at 7 integral human movement patterns to identify dysfunctions or imbalances between right and left side of the body. Weakness, asymmetry and limited flexibility of muscles are common sources of musculoskeletal injury. Each of these seven movements are graded on a 0-3 scale with 0 indicating pain during the movement and 3 being a normal/non-dysfunctional movement pattern. The highest score you can get is 21, and the key benchmark is 14. Some examples of the movements are shown below.
14 or Below Scorers Are 50% More Likely To Be Injured
Several studies have shown that if a person scores 14 or lower, they have a 50% higher chance of suffering an injury. One study looked at 38 female collegiate athletes at the start of their fall or winter sport and found that 69% of the athletes that scored 14 or less suffered an injury during the season. A 2nd study looked at an entire professional football team and again 14 was the magic number that indicated who was most likely to get injured during their season. The likelihood increased from a pre-test probability of injury of 15% to just over 50% when the player scored 14 or less .
Taking Action Based On Your FMS Results
A big reason why we like to use the FMS is because they have a software program that let’s us tailor a specific home exercise program that is individualized to you based on your specific score and movement dysfunctions. You will be emailed directly with your results along with descriptive pictures and videos of each exercise.
Most FMS clients make a one-on-one physical therapy appointment to review the exercises and address any pain or dysfunction that was encountered during the FMS. Our PTs use the information from FMS, along with a PT evaluation, to create a custom workout that is specific to your winter sport. Schedule your FMS appointment today to stop injuries before they can happen!