Management of Lumbar Conditions in the Elite Athlete

Wellington K. Hsu, MD; Tyler James Jenkins, MD


J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2017;25(7):489-498. 

In This Article


In elite athletes, most lumbar conditions can be managed nonsurgically with excellent outcomes. Surgical treatment is a viable option for athletes in whom nonsurgical treatment has failed. Many elite athletes are able to return to play even after surgical treatment, especially those who require lumbar diskectomy; high-level evidence has shown that they can return to play in 75% to 100% of cases.[5] Return to play is assessed on an individual basis, but athletes should complete a rehabilitation program and demonstrate resolution of symptoms before medical clearance.