Restoring Function and Improving Performance with FMS® and Y-Balance Test™

One of the many popular phrases with sporting circles is Injury prevention and it tends to used by many different professionals from sports trainers, coaches to Physiotherapists. There is a great deal of research now available on this subject which shows if properly applied rehabilitation programmes can restore function, prevent recurrences and even improve athletic performance while attempting to prevent injuries.

The most significant thing to consider is the initial assessment which establishes any baselines identifies risk factors. The most effective assessments that I have used are theFunctional Movement Screen (FMS®) and Y-Balance Test™ which are both extensively researched and utilised in the United States. In the USA where these tools were developed they are currently being used by many Government organisations (i.e. US Military) and Professional Sports teams to enhance the performance of their personnel while minimising their injury risk.

 The FMS® Screenhas been developed as an approach to assessing individuals which clearly shows any imbalances due to abnormal movement whereas theY-Balance Test™ assess dynamic stability while standing on one leg. Research is now showing that it is importance to assess both components of movement to ensure the best results from any corrective rehabilitation programme. These assessment tools allow us to clearly and accurately assess injury risk and imbalances and develop specific corrective exercise programmes for each individual. This allows the clinician to track a person’s improvement over time and to ensure that we are correcting the underlying injury risk while maximising their movement performance.

The patients that have benefited most from this system are those with recurring pain and injuries and/or those whose performance has plateaued. Many of the athletes that come to see us have also noted a significant improvement in training performance allowing them to train with more intensity to gain better results.

Currently there is no specific programmes that has been shown to prevent an injury for longer than the duration of the exercises. The best such programme was developed in Norway to prevent recurrent Hamstring strains in professional athletes and when applied had a 100% success rate. But the year after completing the programme the injuries returned. This is consistent with research on post-operative knee reconstruction rehabilitation, shoulder and ankle rehabilitation programmes of which many have been developed by Orthopaedic Surgeons, Physiotherapists and Sports Physicians in the past 20 years.

Injury prevention programmes only work if part or a regular programme with periodic reviews and adjustments (much the same as a mechanic recommends regular servicing of your vehicle to prevent breakdowns). Which brings up another problem – if you do the same exercise programme over an extended period of time it becomes less effective as your body adapts (our bodies attempt to become more efficient). This means that any given programme will become less effective in time and hence must be reviewed regularly to force your body to adapt and hence increase strength/balance etc. That is why professional athletes are screened regularly to ensure optimal movement efficiency and if an imbalance is detected a corrective programme is started before any decline in performance (or increased injury risk) is seen.

That is greatest benefit of theY-Balance Test™ and FMS® Screen is that they are easily reproduced and hence any changes over time can be tracked and corrected. If done as part of a regular monitoring programme injury and performance risks can be picked up early and hence prevent any potential problems from occurring.

So if you are a keen sports person or recovering from an injury, we can help you to go beyond just returning to sport or exercise, but to excelling at it.

If you have any questions regarding whether Physiotherapy can help call Total Rehab Physiotherapy (09 273 3051).