Recent News and Events

by Jaclyn Massi, PT, DPT

Posted in Blog.

July 20th, 2020

All Movement is Driven

Applied Functional Science (AFS) allows us as Physical Therapists to assess a person’s motion in three planes and focus on full-body function vs the specific injury site. We do this by using a principle of movement that we call DRIVERS. You’ve probably heard your therapist at Finish Line talk about these during your exercises.


What specifically are drivers? According to AFS, there are three types of Drivers that allow us to create strategies to facilitate movement; Physical, Biological, and Behavioral. Physical Drivers are considered the environment and its effect on the body, basically all the laws of physics. More specifically its gravity, ground reaction force (the force exerted by the ground on the body when in contact), and momentum (mass that is in motion). Biological Drivers are considered your body; hands, feet, connective tissue, bone, and muscle. Behavioral Drivers are anything that influences or drives YOU. Common behavioral drivers are pain, fear, happiness, and family. As the Gray Institute says behavioral drivers are harder to quantify however no less impactful.


Why do they matter? Because all movement is DRIVEN. In AFS, we use drivers to facilitate a desired motion. Now, we can also say all motion creates a chain reaction. Relying on this chain reaction for example allows us to use your hands or eyes as the driver to create motion at your feet. Wait -What?


Try this: Stand up with your feet shoulder-width apart. Take your right hand and reach across your body at shoulder height as far as you can to the left. Did you notice your feet move? Your left foot supinated (arch picked up off the floor) and the right foot pronated (arch flattened to the floor). I didn’t tell you to move your feet, but I told you to move your hand knowing I could facilitate motion at your feet.


As Physical Therapists, we evaluate whole-body functional movement to understand which motions your body avoids. Then, using these drivers to understand you as a person and your goals, the relationship of body positioning and the environment, and your body to facilitate the desired motion.

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