Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE): Frequently Asked Questions - IMPACT Physical Therapy

Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE): Frequently Asked Questions

Specialist stretching arm of patient in hospital

What is a functional capacity evaluation? 

Known by the acronym FCE, a functional capacity evaluation is a medical test that is required when you file a workers’ compensation claim. The purpose of an FCE is to determine the extent to which your injuries will prevent you from completing your job duties. The test will also be used to create a timeline for your return to physical work. Your physician will most likely order your FCE test, but it may also be required by a lawyer, your employer, or your insurance company.

Where will I take my FCE test?

Because an FCE is a medical test, it must be performed at a medical facility. You may have the right to select the location for your FCE test, depending on the state in which you filed the worker’s compensation claim. If your state allows that right, we can conduct your FCE right here at IMPACT Physical Therapy!

Can I bring friends or family to my FCE?

Only you and a licensed health care provider—whether a physical therapist, physician, or athletic trainer—may be present at your FCE test. 

Do I need to bring anything to my FCE test?

It’s not required, but you can save time by bringing a list of your job requirements provided by your employer.

What is a functional capacity evaluation designed to test?

An FCE test may not be necessary if your injury and prospective healing are straightforward. If your injury and its impact on your job duties are more complex, an FCE test is used to generate an objective, fact-based assessment of your injury and return-to-work timeline.

What happens first when I arrive for my FCE?

First, the health care provider will review the physical requirements of your job. If a job description wasn’t available from your employer, or you didn’t bring one, they will ask you questions to get a clear picture of the strength and mobility requirements of your job.

What tests does an FCE consist of?

What can you expect in terms of physical tests? Whether you sprained your ankle in a fall or suffer from tendon issues that have worsened gradually, your examination will be based on the info you provide about your job duties. The health care provider will assess your capability in the following areas:

  • Handling of materials (pushing, pulling, lifting, carrying)
  • Positional tolerance (reaching, bending, kneeling, walking, squatting, sitting, standing, crawling, balance, etc.)

They will also examine injured body parts to provide an objective assessment of factors such as strength, range of motion, and swelling.

Schedule Your FCE Test at IMPACT Physical Therapy & Sports Recovery

Our team is always available to answer your questions about what a functional capacity evaluation appointment is like, so feel free to reach out. Let us help you get back to work safely today!  Request an FCE test at our Orland Park and Norridge clinics today!