Let’s talk about the last time you interviewed for a new job. Chances are that the first step is sending a reusme or cover letter to your potential employer, and when you
passed this first portion, you were then invited for an in-person interview. At this stage, the employer probably asked you to answer a series of questions and to demonstrate your skills through a test or two to see whether you are fit for the job.
Just as job recruiters screen applicants to find the best fit for an open position, your PT will ask you to perform a series of exercises and drills to see if you are fit for the activity. This way she can observe and understand your body mechanics to uncover any issues or limitations. Used in combination with a full evaluation and assessment, these so-called movement screens are just one tool in identifying the most appropriate treatment or prevention program for you. But unlike that test you may have taken during a job interview, the screen is not testing your skills or abilities, it’s simply a way of identifying how your body functions during a variety of movements.
Now that summer is starting to get into full swing, it’s the perfect time of year to make an appointment with your physical therapist for a movement screen – especially for young atheletes who are taking their summer break. Consider this training or regrouping time before they start their competitive activities in the fall. You may not need to be an athlete to get checked for your movements either – a physical therapist can check you for your balance and strength to assume a senior person’s fall risk, for example. A PT checkup that includes a movement screen will ensure that you’re physically able to engage in different physical activities, whether navigating your way through your neighborhood, or navigating your way through a basketball court.
Physical therapists perform movement screens for a variety of reasons, including:
• To identify areas of strength and weakness
• To uncover issues or rule them out
• To determine readiness to begin a safe exercise program
• To improve sport performance (for both novice and elite athletes)
Stride Strong Physical Therapy offers a series of movements screens:
– Berg balance test
– Functional Movement Screens and Return to Sports Screens
– Running or walking gait analysis
A movement screen is something that you can have done whether you have a nagging injury or are simply ready to kickstart your activity level after a long hiatus. Gaining an understanding of how your body performs during basic exercises such as squats and lunges helps your PT ensure that you can safely jump on a bike or into a pool this summer. And just like an employer screens candidates to identify the one individual who is likely to thrive on the job for many years to come, a movement screen can help you develop a lasting and fulfilling relationship with the activities you enjoy most.
Doctor of Physical Therapy, Director at Stride Strong Physical Therapy