Introduction. Oral corticosteroids are potent anti-inflammatory drugs, with a wide use in many medical conditions. The aim of this survey was to explore the current attitudes and practice in ACSP Fellows.
Methodology. We surveyed all 110 Fellows of the Australian College of Sports Physicians, asking if they used oral corticosteroids in managing musculoskeletal injuries, and if they did, how often, in what dose, for how long, what conditions they would treat with oral steroids, and what they advised their patients about side effects.
Results. 55 (50%) replied to the survey. 14 (25.5%) said they never used oral corticosteroids in treating musculoskeletal conditions, with both lack of scientific evidence and concern over side effects cited as their reason for not using them. 35 (63.6%) used steroids rarely (about once per month), and 6 (10.9%) used them occasionally (about once per week). Dose used ranged from 10- 80 mg per day, and the length of course ranged from 3 - 14 days. 29 (70.7%) would taper tl~e dose, 12 (29.3%) would use the 'same dose throughout. 23 (56.1%) would use it in both acute and chronic conditions, 9 (21.9%) in only acute and 9 (21.9%) in only chronic. The commonest conditions declared were discogenic back pain, osteitis pubis, adhesive capsulitis, and chronic tendinopathies. Commonest side effects mentioned to their patients were sleep disturbance, flushing, weight gain, osteoporosis, and risk of avascular necrosis of the femoral neck.
Conclusion. There is no consensus on the use of oral corticosteroids in sports medicine today.