Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA)

sfma screenIn Physical Therapy the central theme of our role in health care is getting our patients moving properly without pain. This is true for all types of problems, from the parent whose back hurts after they bend down to lift their child to the triathlete who has pain running and cycling. Physical Therapy evaluations involve a number of essential components:

  • A thorough History (listening to you explain the problem and how it is affecting you)
  • Specific Clinical Tests (testing to better define what’s causing the problem)
  • Baseline Information on your current levels of motion, flexibility, strength, and swelling
  • Functional Tests (tests that reproduce the things that you need to do every day)

 A Functional Test, the Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) is a movement based diagnostic system identifying the specific cause of your pain, defining if this is related to limited mobility, weakness, or both. There are several movement patterns that you will be asked to do as our SFMA certified Physical Therapist carefully observes how you complete each movement. From the SFMA, your Physical Therapist can direct the rehabilitative strategies to return you to pain free participation in athletic or recreational activities.


Developed by Gray Cook, a Virginia Physical Therapist, the SFMA is a multi-level examination that assesses whether selected movements are functional (normal) or dysfunctional (not normal) as well as whether the movement reproduces pain. When the problem movements are narrowed down, additional tests and movements are then checked to direct your care.