What does WFLs really mean?

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WFL versus WNL

You see the terms WFL and WNL … what do they really mean?

WFL or Within Functional Limits

Given the client’s environment and desired and necessary occupations, they can do everything they need and want with the available ROM and/or strength that they have.  But… what does that really mean?

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Example:  How much ROM do you need to be WFL for tying shoes?

Cervical flexion : 15-25′;  Shoulder flexion: 75-80′; Should abduction: 15-20′; Elbow flexion: 10-20′; Forearm pronation 45-50′; Wrist extension:  10-15′;  MP flexion: 80′;  PIP flexion index and middle fingers:  50-60′;   DIP flexion: minimal;  Hip flexion:  110′;  Knee flexion: 110′


WNL or Within Normal Limits

The client has range of motion or strength within the norms of function (you know, those ones you had to memorize in school!).  Personally, I don’t use WNL unless I am absolutely sure and I have hand measured every joint/muscle group in that area. How do you really know it is WNL if you don’t measure it (can you really accept an “eyeball” estimate here)?  That is why sometimes this may be referred to as “We Never Looked” because unless you did all the measurements, it is really hard to say a client is WNLs.  I prefer WFL if you need to use a catch-all for ROM and strength measurements.

Welcoming comments on what you think WFLs means for different activities (activity analysis anyone)?!  Do you think it is overused? Tweet me @karenkeptnerot !


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