Functional Capacity Evaluations


Injured on the job? Let Panetta Physical Therapy get you ready to go back to work.

If you have been injured on the job and have filed a workers’ compensation claim or need to prove you are physically capable of returning to work after a non-related work accident, you will most likely be required to have a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE).


The staff at Panetta Physical Therapy specializes in providing Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCE). An FCE evaluation is an assessment tool that can help determine if you are ready to return to work. An FCE is designed to objectively measure a worker’s physical capabilities and limitations as well as tolerances, which is also called a worker’s physical demand level (PDL). Employers, physicians, insurance companies, attorneys, case managers usually require an FCE to be conducted before an authorization to return to work.

What are the benefits of an FCE evaluation?

  • Determination of how much the patient will be able to participate in work-related activities as well as provide the likelihood that the patient can return to work without being re-injured.

  • Referral sources are provided with legally defensible answers to aid in case resolutions.

  • All protocols are standardized in order to objectively determine a patient’s function and safety levels to return to work and close case.

  • Provides timely reporting of a patient’s physical capabilities clearly and concisely.


Who Can Benefit From an FCE?

  • An individual who has been injured on the job and needs to determine his or her ability to return to work or to be provided with alternative work. This may include a determination of full duty, modified duty, or transitional duty.

  • An individual who needs to settle a workers’ compensation case.

  • Any individual who needs to show the capability to perform certain job demands as part of a hiring process (pre-work/post-offer employment testing).

  • An individual that is applying for Social Security Disability assistance.

  • An individual who wants to return to work or volunteering after an injury.

  • An individual who has been injured in a catastrophic accident (i.e.: car accident) in which an FCE provide a determination of performance skills and abilities to resume employment or new employment.

  • An individual who needs vocational rehabilitation services.

  • A student who receives transitional services from school to work and needs a skills performance assessment in order to determine the degree of support they may need to perform their job.

How reliable is an FCE?
Panetta Physical Therapy provides testing results that are reliable and trustworthy. Our goal is to objectively deliver fair and accurate data and information to each individual’s workers’ compensation case. Our staff understands that clear, concise and timely FCEs are of the utmost importance for both the injured patient as well as the for the referral source to be able to close their case judiciously.

What Are the Components of the FCE?

The FCE process typically starts with meeting with the patient for an interview as well as a medical record review. Depending on the purpose of an ordered FCE assessment, the following may be included in the appointment:

  • Musculoskeletal screening

  • Functional testing: lifting, carrying, pushing and pulling

  • Positional tolerance testing: sitting, standing, walking, balancing, reaching, stooping, kneeling, crouching, crawling

  • Object handling and manipulation testing: hand grasping and dexterity, hand manipulation, finger movement

  • Hand coordination testing

  • Endurance testing

  • Pain levels are also tested and documented during various activities that can determine a pain management protocol