Page 98 - Athletic Health Handbook
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TEAM PHYSICIAN’S CORNER

INJECTABLE CORTICOSTEROIDS
IN ATHLETES

DEREK B. PURCELL, MD THE USE OF INJECTABLE CORTICOSTEROIDS
HAS EVOLVED since their introduction in the early 1950s.
MATTHEW J. MATAVA, MD
Washington University Department Corticosteroids continue to play a prominent role in current orthopaedic
of Orthopaedic Surgery practice. A survey by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
St. Louis, Missouri revealed 90 percent of Academy members utilize injectable corticosteroids
in their practices.16 The use of these medications continues to play a
prominent role in the care of the athlete, from the weekend warrior to
the elite professional. However, there remains little information available
within the orthopaedic literature to support the use of these agents.
To date, there are few randomized clinical trials assessing the efficacy
of corticosteroid injections.

Injectable corticosteroids are most commonly used in intra-articular or
para-articular sites. The biochemical effects of these medications are well
known. However, the precise mechanism of action in the various disease
states in which they are utilized remains unclear. The anti-inflammatory
effects are purported to provide significant analgesia and allow for an earlier

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