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SLAP tears are common in overhead athletes. Proper diagnosis and effective management of a SLAP tear in the overhead athlete is imperative for successful return to play. Diagnostically, athletic trainers have a large number of special tests to consider when ruling in or out a SLAP lesion. However, in recent literature, special tests used to diagnose SLAP lesions have been found to lack validity, suffer frequent user error, and/or have limited diagnostic utility. (1) Despite these literature findings and limited clinical diagnostic success, athletic trainers continue to include these tests in their evaluation battery. (2) Once diagnosed, the management of SLAP lesions is approached through conservative or surgical management. Choosing a treatment approach can be difficult for athletic trainers due to the few clinical trials directly comparing the outcomes, and results of cohort studies showing comparable outcomes with regards to function and return to sport. (3,4) While return to sport with each treatment option vary widely, a recent systematic review on returning to preinjury levels following a SLAP lesion repair found the odds ratio of a full return to play were greater for non-overhead athletes compared to overhead athletes. (4,5) There remains an unclear and often unrealistic expectation for return to sport in overhead athletes. This presentation aims to provide clinicians with the most up-to-date information regarding diagnosis, surgical interventions, rehabilitation, and return to play for overhead athletes diagnosed with a SLAP tear, thus reducing the potential knowledge gap between educational knowledge and clinical practice.
Athletic Training Domains:
At the conclusion of this presentation, the learner will be able to:
Participants will be able to describe the methods used to assess the diagnostic accuracy for the history and physical examination findings to confirm or rule out presence of a pathology.
Participants will be able to appraise the current evidence for history and physical examination tests used to diagnose SLAP lesions.
Participants will be able to describe the methods used to assess effectiveness of treatment and return to sport.
Participants will be able to summarize the current evidence for the management and return to sport outcomes for overhead athletes with SLAP lesions based on current evidence.
Participants will be able to apply the current evidence to case studies related to the evaluation and management of overhead athletes with SLAP lesions.