Presentation T O5

T O5 (Oral Presentation):
Are we part of the problem? Influence of physical therapist on lifting capacity

Presented by: Michiel F Reneman


Lakke SE1, Soer R1, Geertzen JHB1, Beetsma A1, Schans van der CP1, Reneman MF1

  1. Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Center for Rehabilitation, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, PO box 30.002, 9750 RA Haren, the Netherlands



Functional capacity evaluation (FCE) is used to guide work recommendations. Lifting capacity is an important component of FCE. Physical therapists (PTs) with high fear of injury tend to advise patients to avoid daily physical activity and be conservative on work recommendations. Little is known on the transferability of a PT’s fear of injury to a patient’s lifting capacity. Objective: To determine how PT fear of injury influences lifting capacity of healthy students and to describe the behaviors of high and low fear examiners during a lifting capacity test.


The study was a double blinded, randomized controlled study. PT students (n=256;105 male) performed a lifting capacity test. Examiners (n=24) were selected from second year PT students. Students in Group A (n=124) were tested in the presence of examiners with a high fear of injury; Group B (n=132) with a low fear of injury. Differences between Groups A and B in lifting capacities were analyzed using an unpaired t-test. Behaviors of high and low fear examiners were video recorded and analyzed, employing an observational guide that was uniquely constructed for this study.


Mean (SD) lifting capacity in Group A was 32.1 (13.6) kg; in Group B, 39.6 (16.4) kg. Mean difference was 7.4 kg (95% CI=3.7 to 11.2; p<0.01). Examiners with a higher fear of injury focus more on pain, lifting avoidance, guarding behavior, stronger control of the test protocol, reassurance, and hesitation.


PT examiner’s fear of injury has substantial influence on the lifting capacities of healthy persons. This may lead to unnecessary conservative work recommendations.

Schedule Details

Tuesday September 30
10:45 - 12:15 Morning Concurrent Sessions (T O1 - T O12 and Seminar 4)
Session: Healthcare providers’ interventions II
Room B