A functional capacity evaluation is a series of exercises administered and measured by a physical therapist. The exam can last from as little as four hours to as long as two eight-hour days. During the examination, you will be asked to lift, push, pull and carry increasing amounts of weights in various body positions. The therapist will measure your flexibility, posture, bending, standing, crouching, kneeling and stair climbing ability. Most functional capacity evaluations will incorporate exercises specific to your type of injury. For instance, if you have injured your hand, your grip strength will be measured. If your shoulder is injured, your ability to push, pull, carry and work overhead with your injured arm will be measured.

During the course of the examination, your heart rate will be monitored in order to determine your effort level. If your heart rate does not increase, your FCE will note that you did not give full effort and it will negatively affect your claim and your potential settlement. It is important that you attempt every exercise that the physical therapist asks you to perform. Refusing to even attempt an exercise will also negatively affect the results of the FCE. Finally, when describing your pain while performing the exercises, keep in mind that level 10 pain means you need to be taken to the emergency room immediately. Level 10 type of pain is incredibly rare, and it is important that you accurately describe the pain you are feeling. Level 7 pain is described as “unmanageable” and level 6 is “distressing”, these are more common pain levels that still describe immense pain.

If you have any questions about your upcoming FCE, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are happy to provide a free consultation.


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