Functional Gait Assessment (FGA)
Authors: Diane M Wrisley, Gregory F Marchetti, Diane K Kuharsky, and Susan L Whitney
Purpose: To evaluate postural stability and gait during various gait tasks.
Target Population: Individuals with vestibular disorders and community dwelling adults aged
40 – 89.
What it Tests: The FGA is valuable for detecting impairments in gait stability.
Interrater: ICC for total FGA = 0.86 in a sample of six individuals with vestibular
disorders and .93 in a larger sample of 200 healthy adults
Intrarater: ICC for total FGA = .74
Internal consistency: Cronbach’s alpha = .79 in a sample of six individuals with
Concurrent: r = .64 - .80 between Dizziness Handicap Inventory, Activities-Specific
Balance Confidence Scale, number of falls, and DGI scores.
Age-referenced Norms for Expected Outcomes2: Available for healthy, community-dwelling
adults aged 40 – 89.
Administration: A marked 20-foot walkway with a marked 12-inch width, a stopwatch, an
obstacle to step over, and a set of stairs with rails are needed to administer the FGA. The
assessment itself consists of ten items meant to challenge gait and balance. These items are gait
on a level surface, gait at different speeds, gait with horizontal head turns, gait with vertical with
head turns, gait with pivot turns, stepping over an obstacle, gait in tandem, gait with eyes closed,
gait backwards, and stair climbing. Each item includes instructions for the therapist to give to
the patient and provides ratings from 0 – 3 for severe impairment to normal performance with
descriptions of each level.
Time required: Approximately 15 minutes are required for administration of the FGA.
Advantages: The advantages of the FGA over the DGI are clearer operational definitions and
more sensitivity in the assessment of younger individuals with vestibular disorders.1 It is also
freely available for use and requires few materials for the actual testing.
Limitations: Lack of information regarding its ability to identify individuals at risk for falls and
unclear usefulness to clinicians for assessing changes in performance over time.2
Ordering/Acquisition Information: This assessment tool can be found in the appendix of the
2004 article by Wrisley et al., the citation of which is provided below.
1) Wrisley DM, Marchetti GF, Kuharsky DK, Whitney SL. Reliability, internal consistency, and
validity of data obtained with the Functional Gait Assessment. Phys Ther. 2004:84;906-918.
2) Walker ML, Austin AG, Banke GM, et al. Reference group data for the Functional Gait
Assessment. Phys Ther. 2007:87;1468-1477.
Appraised by: Ashley Ingram Date appraised: 3/19/09