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Serving the clinician and the patient: three ways that quality clinical guidelines can build on expert consensus statements and systematic reviews
  1. Clare L Ardern1,2,3
  1. 1Aspetar Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar
  2. 2Division of Physiotherapy, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
  3. 3School of Allied Health, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Clare Ardern, Aspetar Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Hospital, P.O. Box 29222, Doha, Qatar; c.ardern{at}

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For the busy clinician, keeping up-to-date with the latest evidence is challenging.1 A ‘one-stop-shop’ document that summarises the management of a particular disease or health condition is attractive. This editorial provides tips on how to produce clinical guidelines for sports and exercise medicine.

Clinical guidelines: blending the best of systematic review evidence with highest level clinical evidence

BJSM places high value on systematic reviews as level 1 evidence and important guiding lights for sports and exercise medicine (62 systematic reviews were published in 2015). Since these usually ask a very specific question and typically consider one aspect of a health condition, one systematic review cannot answer all the questions that are relevant to the management of a health condition.

Clinical guidelines represent higher order thinking, whereas a systematic review is more restricted in context. The key difference is that guidelines translate a body of evidence into management options for a particular health condition. Not as a recipe; guidelines must be applied with sound clinical reasoning.2 Guidelines have the potential to help resolve clinical conundrums in sports and …

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  • Correction note This paper has been amended since it was published Online First. The email address of the corresponding author was incorrect in the previous version and has now been updated.

  • Twitter Follow Clare Ardern at @clare_ardern

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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