Nonoperative treatment of muscle injuries - recommendations from the GOTS expert meeting.
BACKGROUND: Muscle injuries are some of the most common injuries in sports; they have a high recurrence rate and can result in the loss of ability to participate in training or competition. In clinical practice, a wide variety of treatment strategies are commonly applied. However, a limited amount of evidence-based data exists, and most therapeutic approaches are solely based on "best practice". Thus, there is a need for consensus to provide strategies and recommendations for the treatment of muscle injuries. METHODS: The 2016 GOTS Expert Meeting, initiated by the German-Austrian-Swiss Society for Orthopaedic Traumatologic Sports Medicine (GOTS), focused on the topic of muscle and tendon injuries and was held in Spreewald/Berlin, Germany. The committee was composed of twenty-two medical specialists. Nine of them were delegated to a subcommittee focusing on the nonoperative treatment of muscle injuries. The recommendations and statements that were developed were reviewed by the entire consensus committee and voted on by the members. RESULTS: The committee reached a consensus on the utility and effectiveness of the management of muscle injuries. MAIN RESULTS: the "PRICE" principle to target the first inflammatory response is one of the most relevant steps in the treatment of muscle injuries. Haematoma aspiration may be considered in the early stages after injury. There is presently no clear evidence that intramuscular injections are of use in the treatment of muscle injuries. The ingestion of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) should be regarded critically because there is currently no hard evidence to support their use, although they are appropriate in exceptional cases. CONCLUSIONS: The present work provides a structured overview of the various nonoperative treatment strategies of muscle injuries and evaluates their effectiveness with respect to the existing scientific evidence and clinical expertise in the context of basic science on the healing process of muscle injuries. The committee agreed that there is a compelling need for further studies, including high-quality randomized investigations to completely evaluate the effectiveness of the existing therapeutic approaches. The given recommendations may be updated and adjusted as further evidence will be generated.