The Performance Matrix

The Performance Matrix

13th May 2011

An Online Movement and Performance Screen to Identify and Classify Uncontrolled Movement

For Injury Prevention



What is it?

The Performance Matrix is an online Movement & Performance Screen (MPS) which has been developed to identify uncontrolled movement (UCM) in functionally relevant multijoint skills.

Many current screening tools identify that there is a problem in movement control, but do not classify the uncontrolled movement.

This tool  classifies the UCM in terms of 3 criteria:

1) the site of UCM

2) the direction of UCM and

3) the threshold of UCM.

This diagnosis of UCM enables the development of highly specific retraining strategies to optimise movement control recovery.

What is behind it ?

  • A link has been established between uncontrolled movement and risk of injury (Roussel et al 2009 Man Ther. 14(6):630-5).
  • A battery of movement control tests has been shown to be more effective in assessing for aberrant movement patterns in people with musculoskeletal pain (Luomajoki et al 2007 BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 12;8:90).

Although UCM has been shown to be closely related to the presence of musculoskeletal pain, UCM can be identified in people who have a history of recurrent pain in between pain episodes when they are currently pain free.

UCM has also been identified in people who are pain free and have never had previous pain. Therefore, uncontrolled movement may be a potential risk factor for the development of musculoskeletal injury.

How does it work?

The Performance Matrix Movement and Performance Screens consist of a battery of movement control tests based on the theory of movement dissociation (Sahrmann 2002 Mosby).

The are a number of different Movement and Performance Screens:

  • The Foundation Matrix and The Pilates Matrix - Foundation - a quick screen utilising 10 tests - suitable for all athletes and active individuals
  • The Sports Matrix e.g. The Football Matrix, The Handball Matrix, The Rugby Matrix - a more comprehensive sport specific screen
  • Occupational specific matrices

The tests identify

  • specific sites of UCM (e.g. low back, scapula, hip)
  • direction of the UCM at the problem site (e.g. low back - flexion, scapula - forward tilt)
  • the threshold of control failure as being either low threshold (related to movement coordination and timing) or high threshold (related to strength or speed deficiencies).

The MPS identifies multiple movement weak links which are classified in terms of their site, direction and threshold. Each movement weak link is prioritized as high risk (fix now) or low risk (fix soon).

The Performance Matrix

A battery of movement control tests can identify UCM in people with and without musculoskeletal pain. The UCM can be classified (site, direction and threshold) and prioritized as high risk or low risk.

The classification of UCM may predict movement control dysfunctions, which if corrected, may prevent the onset or recurrence of musculoskeletal injury. The ability to assess for and retrain control of uncontrolled movement is a valuable skill for physical therapists involved in injury prevention.

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