The assessment of function: How is it measured? A clinical perspective

J Man Manip Ther. 2011 May;19(2):91-9. doi: 10.1179/106698111X12973307659546.


Testing for outcome or performance can take many forms; including multiple iterations of self-reported measures of function (an assessment of the individual's perceived dysfunction) and/or clinical special tests (which are primarily assessments of impairments). Typically absent within these testing mechanisms is whether or not one can perform a specific task associated with function. The paper will operationally define function, discuss the construct of function within the disablement model, will overview the multi-dimensional nature of 'function' as a concept, will examine the current evidence for functional testing methods, and will propose a functional testing continuum. Limitations of functional performance testing will be discussed including recommendations for future research.

Keywords: Functional testing; International Classification of Functioning; Physical performance tests; Physical therapy.