Anti-inflammatory treatment of muscular injuries in sport. An update of recent studies

Sports Med. 1999 Dec;28(6):383-8. doi: 10.2165/00007256-199928060-00001.


Stretch-induced muscle injuries or strains, muscle contusions and delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) are common muscle problems in athletes. Anti-inflammatory treatment is often used for the pain and disability associated with these injuries. The most recent studies on nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in strains and contusions suggest that the use of NSAIDs can result in a modest inhibition of the initial inflammatory response and its symptoms. However, this may be associated with some small negative effects later in the healing phase. Corticosteroids have generally been shown to adversely affect the healing of these acute injuries. Animal studies have suggested that anabolic steroids may actually aid in the healing process, but clinical studies are not yet available and the exact role of these drugs has yet to be determined. Studies on anti-inflammatory treatment of DOMS have yielded conflicting results. However, the effect of NSAIDs on DOMS appears small at best. Future research may have to focus on different aspects of these injuries as the emphasis on anti-inflammatory treatment has yielded somewhat disappointing results.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Athletic Injuries / drug therapy*
  • Contusions / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Muscle, Skeletal / injuries*
  • Sprains and Strains / drug therapy*
  • Wounds and Injuries / physiopathology


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal