Anabolic Steroids, Injuries and Weight Training

Historically, anabolic steroids were first used in weight training in the 1950s and 1960s although their application was confined to serious or elite athletes. The recreational or casual use of these training aids has become increasingly prevalent in the less hard-core or fitness gyms.

The stigma, perhaps, previously attached to their use may have stemmed from the notion that performance enhancement aids were concurrent with cheating and that they afforded the trainee an unfair or unsporting advantage. Today's society with its embracing of the cosmetic and artificial no longer pours scorn on the augmentation of what nature gifts us. The rapid uptake of cosmetic surgical procedures across all social demographic divides supports this contention.

So, with the increase in amateur steroid use, do we see more injuries in your everyday gym user? I suspect the answer is yes. Anabolic steroids are thought to increase the risk of musculotendenous injury because of the discrepancy between muscle and tendon strength (Lamb, D.R) and (Lombardo, J.A).

I have also encountered patients who believe that anabolic steroids actually help them recover from injuries, even in the face of personal experience to the contrary. I suspect any chemical/physiological benefit obtained by steroids is normally outweighed by the patients reluctance to rest when injured. This may come about from the well documented motivational effects of anabolic steroids which often induces a state of euphoria and diminishes fatigue. (Pope, H.G and Katz, D.L).

The old adage was and still is as follows: if you are injured, rest, seek appropriate treatment and let nature do her job.

Luke Bennett, osteopath and personal trainer.