Clinician-friendly physical performance tests of the upper extremity in athletes

In parts 1 and 2 of this systematic review, the methodological quality as well as the quality of the measurement properties of physical performance tests (PPTs) of the lower extremity in athletes was assessed. In this study, part 3, PPTs of the upper extremity in athletes are examined.

Database and hand searches were conducted to identify primary literature addressing the use of upper extremity PPTs in athletes. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines were followed and the Consensus-based Standards for the selection of health Measurement Instruments (COSMIN) checklist was used to critique the methodological quality of each paper. The Terwee Scale was used to analyse the quality of the measurement properties of each test.

Eleven articles that examined 6 PPTs were identified. The 6 PPTs were: closed kinetic chain upper extremity stability test (CKCUEST), seated shot put (2 hands), unilateral seated shot put, medicine ball throw, modified push-up test and 1-arm hop test. Best evidence synthesis provided moderate positive evidence for the CKCUEST and unilateral seated shot put. Limited positive evidence was available for the medicine ball throw and 1-arm hop test.

There are a limited number of upper extremity PPTs used as part of musculoskeletal screening examinations, or as outcome measures in athletic populations. The CKCUEST and unilateral seated shot put are 2 promising PPTs based on moderate evidence. However, the utility of the PPTs in injured populations is unsubstantiated in literature and warrants further investigation.

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