Corticosteroids in sports-related injuries: Friend or Foe
Corticosteroids act as potent anti-inflammatory drugs and have been used in various sport settings for the treatment of both acute and chronic injuries. Basic physiology and mechanisms of action for gluco- and mineralocorticoids are discussed. Methods of administration, the action on the inflammatory response, and potential short and long-term side effects of corticosteroid use are also deliberated. More specifically, corticosteroid use in the treatment and management of sport-related injuries are discussed, elucidating on the ethical boundaries and anti-doping regulations pertaining to corticosteroid use in sports, as well as putting forth suggestions for the use of local steroid injections and their contraindications. In conclusion, it was found that, despite some controversy in the use of corticosteroid treatment in the sports environment, little empirical evidence exists that could conclusively rule for or against its use. It is however clear that, if clinically justified, there is a significant role for corticosteroid treatment in the realm of sports injury and notably with a relatively low risk profile, if administered correctly.
Keywords: Steroid hormones, athlete, sports, injury, inflammation.