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Functional Capacity Evaluations

What is a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE)?

Need a precise, objective measure of your patients/clients functional physical ability? Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCE) is an extensive physical agility test, and when performed by a medically trained, highly skilled, Physical Therapist you can be assured that each assessment is accurate and will hold credibility in a court of law.

This unique service is provided at Back at Work Physical Therapy – where our Physical Therapist has performed hundreds of FCE’s. Using the Matheson FCE System, each comprehensive evaluation is administered in our clinic, one-on-one with the Physical Therapist and may range in length from 4 – 5 hours.

When should an FCE be used?

An FCE can occur anytime; however, some of the more common uses are:

  • At end of a sub-acute phase
  • To establish baseline for work conditioning
  • To assist with return to work decisions
  • At case closure
  • For disability (non-work related)


* If an impairment rating is requested, it can be provided using the 4th, 5th or 6th editions of theAMA Guides®To The Evaluation Of Permanent Impairment.

Who Can Benefit from an FCE?

  • Someone who has been injured on the job to determine his or her ability to return to the job or alternate work
  • Someone seeking to return to work or volunteer activities after an injury or illness
  • Someone injured in a catastrophic accident (i.e. automobile accident) for whom an FCE can determine performance skills and abilities related to resuming former employment or a new job
  • Someone seeking vocational rehabilitation services

FCE is used to determine:

  • Goals for rehabilitation or readiness for discharge planning
  • Medical eligibility for disability benefits
  • Worker’s compensation case settlement
  • A modified treatment program
  • Physical abilities of patients before and after a rehab program
  • Whether an injured worker can safely return to work
  • Return to work decisions (including full duty, modified duty or transitional duty)