Functional rehabilitation for the upper and lower extremity

Orthop Clin North Am. 1995 Jul;26(3):579-92.


Functional rehabilitation is an extension of the traditional elements of physical therapy, the purpose of which is to return the athlete to highly complex movement patterns such as athletics. As well as the traditional elements of physical therapy such as strength and flexibility, the functional rehabilitation program incorporates agility and proprioceptive/kinesthetic training, which enables the athlete to participate at preinjury levels of activity while reducing the risk of recurrent injury. The functional rehabilitation program is designed to progress the athlete from simple activities, such as walking or jogging, to highly complex sport-specific activities that require refined levels of proprioceptive acuity. The final phase of the functional rehabilitation program is determining when the athlete is ready to resume participation in their respective sport. This is a very important and sometimes overlooked component of the functional rehabilitation program. The decision for returning an athlete to participation should be made using objective assessments of function that simulate sport activity whenever possible. Last, return to sport activity should be done gradually. Progression into the sport activity is essential to a full and healthy return to participation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Arm Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Athletic Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Exercise Therapy / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leg Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Male
  • Physical Fitness
  • Range of Motion, Articular