The FRT was originally designed as a simple reach test designed to assess standing balance.
This modified version is designed to assess sitting balance in individuals with SCI (i.e. modified FRT). Balance is defined as the ability to maintain control over upright posture during forward reach without stabilization.
The mFRT mimics a very functional activity that is required in daily living. It can distinguish between individuals who have abdominal and back extensors (i.e. high tetraplegia/high paraplegia versus low paraplegia) but not between individuals with high lesions.
The mFRT has been developed specifically for individuals with SCI. As long as an individual has 90 degrees of shoulder flexion, he/she should be able to complete the test.
The mFRT requires an individual to have 90 degrees of shoulder flexion and it is therefore not suitable for individuals with limited range of motion or musculoskeletal deformity.
Lynch SM, Leahy P, Barker SP. Reliability of measurements obtained with a modified functional reach test in subjects with spinal cord injury. Phys Ther 1998;78:128-133. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9474105