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How reliable are Functional Movement Screening scores? A systematic review of rater reliability
  1. Robert W Moran1,2,
  2. Anthony G Schneiders3,
  3. Katherine M Major1,
  4. S John Sullivan2
  1. 1Faculty of Social and Health Sciences, Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand
  2. 2Centre for Health, Activity and Rehabilitation Research, School of Physiotherapy, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
  3. 3School of Human, Health and Social Sciences, Central Queensland University, Branyan, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Robert W Moran, Faculty of Social and Health Sciences, Unitec Institute of Technology, Private Bag 92025, Auckland 1142, New Zealand; rmoran{at}


Background Several physical assessment protocols to identify intrinsic risk factors for injury aetiology related to movement quality have been described. The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) is a standardised, field-expedient test battery intended to assess movement quality and has been used clinically in preparticipation screening and in sports injury research.

Aim To critically appraise and summarise research investigating the reliability of scores obtained using the FMS battery.

Study design Systematic literature review.

Methods Systematic search of Google Scholar, Scopus (including ScienceDirect and PubMed), EBSCO (including Academic Search Complete, AMED, CINAHL, Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition), MEDLINE and SPORTDiscus. Studies meeting eligibility criteria were assessed by 2 reviewers for risk of bias using the Quality Appraisal of Reliability Studies checklist. Overall quality of evidence was determined using van Tulder's levels of evidence approach.

Results 12 studies were appraised. Overall, there was a ‘moderate’ level of evidence in favour of ‘acceptable’ (intraclass correlation coefficient ≥0.6) inter-rater and intra-rater reliability for composite scores derived from live scoring. For inter-rater reliability of composite scores derived from video recordings there was ‘conflicting’ evidence, and ‘limited’ evidence for intra-rater reliability. For inter-rater reliability based on live scoring of individual subtests there was ‘moderate’ evidence of ‘acceptable’ reliability (κ≥0.4) for 4 subtests (Deep Squat, Shoulder Mobility, Active Straight-leg Raise, Trunk Stability Push-up) and ‘conflicting’ evidence for the remaining 3 (Hurdle Step, In-line Lunge, Rotary Stability).

Conclusions This review found ‘moderate’ evidence that raters can achieve acceptable levels of inter-rater and intra-rater reliability of composite FMS scores when using live ratings. Overall, there were few high-quality studies, and the quality of several studies was impacted by poor study reporting particularly in relation to rater blinding.

  • Prevention
  • Injury
  • Sports medicine
  • Physiotherapy
  • Reliability

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