FMS scores linked to higher injury risk in runners

Here is a neat study (abstract here) linking increased injury risk in runners with higher Functional Movement Screen (FMS) scores. You noticed I said higher? As in "better" scores were correlated with more injuries.  I will have to read the whole article and to be fair put just as much critical thought into the papers that showed a slightly greater risk of injury when scores were lower. But here is a quote:

Unexpectedly, higher FMS scores led to an increased injury risk in collegiate runners. It has been suggested that in order to maintain optimal musculoskeletal health, one must have variety in their movements and postures. Since runners do not get variety in movements from their sport/training, perhaps those with lower FMS scores are achieving that variability, and avoiding injury, through their more variable movement patterns.

I think they may be torturing a rationale out of their findings even though I agree with the sentiment.  I'm not sure that if someone scores higher on the FMS that they are naturally more variable.  I'd guess many people with high scores have wonderful control of their function and can move in a multitude of ways.

What might be the more obvious conclusion is that the score could be meaningless.  Injury is complicated.  Its just some statistical fluke. The same way a lower score gets associated with more injuries.  There is always a lot of variability.  And maybe screening in this manner just doesn't work.

If I take anything away from this it means if we are serious about injury prevention we need to look at more than just the physical or the "quality" of how someone moves.  Perhaps these screens aren't enough (groundbreaking, I know :) ).  And to the credit of every screen developer I know they say this too.  Where is the brave PhD student to do a the comprehensive screen that encompasses all aspects of a person's life that can contribute to pain and injury? Probably writing algorithms for high frequency trading and making a killing but that's another story.

Its OK to not know what to think of these things
Blog, 2014Greg Lehman