Functional Gait Assessment

Download our free Functional Gait Assessment (FGA) to assess postural stability and balance in older adults. For instructions and how to score, read further.

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What is a Functional Gait Assessment (FGA)?

The or FGA is an assessment for checking a client’s postural stability and balance. It’s also known as the modified version of the Dynamic Gait Index or the DGI.

Those who are familiar with the DGI may find that the following types of gait have been retained:

  • Gait Level Surface
  • Change in Gait Speed
  • Gait with Horizontal Head Turns
  • Gait with Vertical Head Turns
  • Gait and Pivot Turn
  • Stairs

As for the rest of the test, aside from changes in instructions in some of the types of gait mentioned above, there are also additional tests added to aid in identifying and even diagnosing vestibular orders. They are as follows:

  • Step Over Obstacle
  • Gait with Narrow Base of Support
  • Gait with Eyes Closed
  • Ambulating Backwards

The changes were made for two reasons. One, to decrease the ceiling effect of the DGI, and two, to improve reliability.

Equipment, scoring, interpretation, and identification of fall risk and challenges clients may face beyond the test are essentially similar to the DGI. For a summary of these, see below:

  • FGA still uses shoeboxes, stairs, a marked walkway, and a stopwatch.
  • It also uses an ordinal scale from 0 to 3, with 3 being the highest and 0, being the lowest.
  • Scoring still relies on the rater’s understanding of descriptions and observational skills.
  • At the end of the test, the rater must at least identify the client’s challenges in postural stability and balance.

Printable Functional Gait Assessment

Download this Functional Gait Assessment and evaluate the gait functionality in your patients.

How Does this Functional Gait Assessment PDF work?

Step One. Grab a Template Copy

Search the Functional Gait Assessment (FGA) template in Carepatron’s template library on our website or app available on desktop, iOs, or Android. Click download for an editable PDF copy. 

Alternatively, you can click “Download Template” above to obtain a copy. 

Step Two. Prepare Accordingly

Prepare the following equipment needed for the test:

  • Stopwatch
  • Measuring device 
  • Marked walking area that’s 20 ft./6m in length and 12 in./30cm in width. 
  • Two stacked shoeboxes that should be equivalent to 9 in./23cm in height. 
  • Set of steps with bilateral rails that are 7.75 to 9 in. in height. 

Afterward, fill out the details on the form: date, patient name, age, gender, sex, patient’s signature, your name, and signature. 

It’s encouraged that you review the template for an idea of the instructions, scoring, and descriptions. If you’re used to the Dynamic Gait Index, do note that there are some differences, so best familiarize yourself with the new content in the template. 

Step Three. Carry out the Test

Read and explain the instructions to your client before every facet. It’s best to follow the top-to-bottom flow on the template and take short breaks between tests when necessary since this is a longer test than DGI. However, the test duration should still not last longer than 30 minutes.

For safety purposes, you may stand behind your client to catch them if they tilt or lose their balance. 

Step Four. Score and Interpret

Check the score that matches your observations. Descriptions are provided in the template for guidance. 

Once you’ve finished with the facets, tally the facet scores to obtain a total score to help write down a summary of your findings. A sample may be: “The client’s Functional Gait Assessment (FGA) score is 28. They are not at fall risk”

Step Five. Share the Next Steps

Finished with steps one to four? Depending on the result, you may proceed to thank your client for their time, formulate a clinical impression, or ask them to undergo tests or consult with specialists about a disorder you think they may have. 


Functional Gait Assessment, also known as FGA, scoring is similar to scoring the Dynamic Gait Index. You observe your client and check the score based on how fast, accurately, and independently they follow instructions. 

Typically, scoring goes as follows:

  • You give them a three (3) if they are capable of following instructions quickly, accurately, and without assistance.
  • You give them a zero if (0) if they are unable to or refuse to do the movement. 
  • You give them two (2) or one (1) depending on how they compensate to accomplish the task. Refer to the template for the specific description differences between the two

Functional Gait Assessment Example (Sample)

Check out this sample of a completed Functional Gait Assessment (FGA) to understand how to score and interpret the scores of the test. 

Need an offline copy for guidance in the future? Download a copy by clicking the “Download Example PDF” button above.

Download this Functional Gait Assessment Example (Sample) here:

Functional Gait Assessment Example (Sample)

When to Use this Gait Assessment?

When the client expresses concerns about their balance or postural stability or if you notice that they have difficulty accomplishing movements in Functional Gait Assessment (FGA) test, it’s time to ask for consent from the client to conduct the test. 

However, before you open up the idea or when you say yes, don’t forget to consider/set up the following before the test:

  • Testing Environment: To reduce distractions, the practitioner must conduct the test in a quiet area such as a hospital, doctor’s office, or even a rehab or outpatient clinic. 
  • Client’s age: Though the test is designed for older adults, anyone can take the test. One can pinpoint the possible sources of concern by noting the patient's age. 
  • Medical History: This is especially helpful if the practitioner tests a client with a diagnosed disorder. The template then becomes a progress tracker of sorts. Moreover, by checking if they’ve been diagnosed with a condition before, there may be a more appropriate test they can take to check their balance and postural ability instead.

Who is this FGA for?

Similar to DGI, since FGA is a modified test of the former, any clinician or professional can conduct the Functional Gait Assessment on patients who may have concerns doing everyday tasks affecting their gait.

But to be more specific, the following specialists are those who will find the template beneficial to their practice the most:

  • Physiatrist
  • Physical and Occupational Therapist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Neurologist
  • Audiologist
  • Otolaryngologist
  • Audiologist

The practitioners above were mentioned because they specialize or are involved in diagnosing disorders, formulating a treatment plan, or keeping an eye on a client’s rehabilitation program progress, etc.. Their clients are usually those who: 

  • Are older adults complaining about accomplishing everyday tasks related to walking, turning, stopping, etc.
  • Are geriatric patients.
  • Are starting or are in the middle of their stroke recovery
  • Had a brain injury.
  • Have Parkinson’s Disease
  • Have Multiple Sclerosis
  • Have Orthostatic Tremor
  • May have Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
Physical Therapy Software Feedback

Commonly asked questions

Who created the Functional Gait Assessment?

Dr. Diane M. Wrisley developed the functional gait assessment.

How to interpret the Functional Gait Assessment score?

You can interpret the score you give by looking at the level of function beside the score. It will tell you how severe their impairment is, if they have any. 

To interpret the total score, according to research, if a client gets a score of less than 24, they are at a higher risk of falling.

What does the Functional Gait Assessment measure?

The Functional Gait Assessment measures two things: 

  • Balance: Whether or not they need assistance or fall when they do certain everyday movements such as stepping over obstacles, turning their head, etc. 
  • Postural stability: If they can maintain their posture and orientation while doing static and dynamic activities.

Benefits of free Functional Gait Assessment?

Provide a Baseline for Comparison

Practitioners who have new clients who haven’t been diagnosed or aren’t in the middle of a treatment plan or program can use the template to establish a baseline for comparison.


Compared to the DGI, practitioners claim that the Functional Gait Assessment is more reliable because the creators designed the assessment to test for vestibular disorders as well. 


If the client would like a diagnosis or a clinical impression as soon as possible, this test can streamline the process. Not only can it be done within 15-30 minutes, but the questions are consistent in all templates and the results are instantaneous. 

Personalized Treatment

Despite the test being standardized, results may vary from one client to another. Hence, treatment must be personalized to address the client’s specific problem areas. And this test can aid in identifying which of the types of gait need intervention. 

Monitor Progress

Though there’s no recommendation mentioning that the test must be repeated, it’s still best to utilize the test to monitor the progress of your patient post-test and post-intervention to see if the program or treatment plan is working.

Why use this Functional Gait Assessment app?

Balancing patient care and administrative tasks can be challenging and requires significant time and effort. However, it doesn’t have to feel like a tall order, especially if you use Carepatron, the leading practice management software in the healthcare industry.

Available on desktop, iOs, and Android, making it accessible anytime and anywhere, Carepatron’s software equips you with the means, tools, and resources to streamline both clinical and business processes. Plus, our dashboard is user-friendly so you don’t need to read a manual to understand its features.

Sign up for free and you’ll get access to:

  • Over 100 PDF templates for any medical test or survey you need, downloadable and editable on Carepatron
  • An HIPAA-compliant and secure EHR for your digital notes, medical bill history, and any other needed documents related to your client.
  • Multiple scheduling and telehealth software applications integrated right into the dashboard
  • An automated payment system you can set up for your client

These and more are available only at Carepatron. Give it a try today!

Physical Therapy Software
Who created the Functional Gait Assessment?
Who created the Functional Gait Assessment?
Written by
Patricia Buenaventura
Patricia Buenaventura

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