BioPsychoSocial Assessment Tools for the Elderly - Assessment Summary Sheet

Test: Lower Extremity Functional Scale (LEFS)

Year: 1999

Domain: Biological

Assessment Tool Category: Physical Functioning

Variations/Translations: N/A

Setting: Clinical Setting (Rehabilitation)

Method of Delivery: Health professional and self administered questionnaire

Description: The Lower Extremity Functional Scale (LEFS) was developed to provide health care professionals with an efficient tool to measure the functional ability of patients with lower extremity issues. The test is a one page questionnaire that starts by stating, “Today, do you or would you have any difficulty at with…”. The test then consists of 20 items. The patient answers the questions according to how they feel on that particular day. The questionnaire can be administered multiple times over a period of time to show functional improvements of the lower extremity.

Scoring/Interpretation: Each item is scored from 0–4. Zero indicates extreme difficulty or unable to perform a specific activity, whereas 4 indicates no difficulty performing the specific activity. The scores are added together. A score closer to 80 implies higher functional level.

Time to Administer: Approximately 2 minutes

Availability: Online

Software: N/A


Quantitative/Qualitative: Quantitative

Validity (Quantitative): The LEFS was compared with the SF-36 assessment to determine the validity, r=0.80. Also, considering patient decision making, a potential error associated with the score on LEFS at a given point can be ± 5.3 with a 90% confidence interval. The sensitivity and specificity are .81 and .70, respectively.

Reliability (Quantitative): Test re-test reliability is excellent, R=0.94 and internal consistency was α = 0.96


Binkley, J.M., Stratford, P.W., Lott, S.A., & Riddle, D.L. (1999). The lower extremity functional scale (LEFS): Scale development, measurement properties, and clinical application. Physical Therapy, 79(4), 371-383.

Comments: The test is a simple questionnaire that is very easy for older adults to complete. Many older adults experience lower extremity issues, such as, osteoarthritis or frailty. This test will help to determine the functional level of the patient.