Medical Legal

Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE)

What is an FCE/FAE? 

A Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) or Functional Abilities Evaluation (FAE), subjectively and objectively determines the client’s functional abilities and limitations based on range of motion, strength, dexterity and other measured performance.

A ‘Functional Capacity Evaluation’ is designed to systematically assess an examinee’s capabilities and limitations via a set of testing protocols that are evidenced-based.  The testing protocols of an FCE are designed to comprehensively assess the examinee’s functional abilities and/or limitations.  These testing protocols are comprised of a range of recognized functional assessment tools (i.e. Arcon & Matheson) for assessing the physical abilities required to perform work in a specific occupation and/or the examinee’s current functional ability.  This comprehensive method of assessing physical abilities, designed to provide a profile of the examinee’s physical work-tolerance in accordance with the National Occupational Classification (NOC) and the Career Handbook, includes the following components:

  • Vision & Hearing;
  • Gross Mobility Tolerances (Stooping, Kneeling, and Crouching);
  • Reaching Abilities (Low Level Reaching, Forward Reaching, and High Level Reaching);
  • Agility Tolerances (Balance/Coordination and Stair Climbing);
  • Manual Dexterity (Griping, Pinching, and Handling/Fingering);
  • Static Strength (Pushing & Pulling);
  • Vertical Manual Material Handling (Floor to Knuckle, Knuckle to Shoulder, and Floor to Shoulder,);
  • Horizontal Manual Material Handling (Bilateral Carrying, and Pushing/Pulling);
  • Cardiovascular Fitness Capabilities (CAFT Stepping Test);
  • Musculoskeletal Evaluation Test (Ranges of Motion of the Spine & Joints);
  • Postural Tolerances (Sitting, Standing, and Walking);
  • Manual Muscle Testing (Performed only if weakness is identified)
  • Spinal Function Sort (SFS).


Two day FCEs are also available and differs from a one day FCE in that it repeats the physical testing on a second consecutive day. This gives a clearer picture of function, symptom tolerance and is particularly useful in claimants who suffer from delayed onset of pain post physical activity.

Functional and Medical Evaluation (FAME)

Functional and Medical Evaluations combine an Independent Medical Evaluation (IME) and a Functional Abilities Evaluation (FAE). The functional data from the FAE is interpreted into the report authored by the doctor and combined with their medical exam.