Functional stability re-training: principles and strategies for managing mechanical dysfunction

Man Ther. 2001 Feb;6(1):3-14. doi: 10.1054/math.2000.0389.


Functional stability is dependent on integrated local and global muscle function. Mechanical stability dysfunction presents as segmental (articular) and multi-segmental (myofascial) dysfunction. These dysfunctions present as combinations of restriction of normal motion and associated compensations (give) to maintain function. Stability dysfunction is diagnosed by the site and direction of give or compensation that relates to symptomatic pathology. Strategies to manage mechanical stabililty dysfunction require specific mobilization of articular and connective tissue restrictions, regaining myofascial extensibility, retraining global stability muscle control of myofascial compensations and local stability muscle recruitment to control segmental motion. Stability re-training targets both the local and global stability systems. Activation of the local stability system to increase muscle stiffness along with functional low-load integration in the neutral joint position controls segmental or articular give. Global muscle retraining is required to correct multisegmental or myofascial dysfunction in terms of controlling the site and direction of load that relates to provocation. The strategy here is to train low-load recruitment to control and limit motion at the site of pathology and then actively move the adjacent restriction, regain through range control of motion with the global stability muscles and regain sufficient extensibility in the global mobility muscles to allow normal function. Individual strategies for integrating local and global recruitment retraining back into normal function are suggested.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Disabled Persons / rehabilitation
  • Humans
  • Movement Disorders / diagnosis
  • Movement Disorders / etiology
  • Movement Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Movement Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Patient Care Planning
  • Physical Therapy Modalities / methods*
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Risk Factors