How to Treat Muscle Soreness

Muscle soreness after walking and jogging is probably attributable to microscopic tears in muscle fibers and damage to muscle membranes. This damage is partially responsible for the localized pain, tenderness, and swell­ing that exercisers experience 24 to 48 hours after the workout.

Downhill running and walking have been implicated in delayed muscle soreness. In downhill running, the leg muscles undergo eccentric muscle contraction; they produce force as they lengthen. Running uphill produces the opposite effect as the muscles undergo concentric muscle contraction to provide the lift needed to negotiate the upgrade.

To expand upon this concept, when a weight is lifted, the muscles contract concentrically to produce the force needed to raise the weight against the force of gravity. When the weight is returned to the starting position, the muscles contract eccentrically, lengthen, and produce the same amount of force to slow their descent. This portion of the movement is what results in delayed muscle soreness.

In a simple but ingenious study, the subjects exercised by consistently stepping onto a box with one leg and stepping down with the other. The step-up represented the concentric contraction, and the step-down the eccentric contraction. The subjects experienced pain, which peaked 48 hours after the exercise in the eccen­trically exercised leg only.

The delayed soreness experienced with eccentric exercise is probably at­tributable to the recruitment of only a few muscle fibers that must produce great tension to do the work. Un­trained people have more delayed muscle soreness than trained people.

Delayed muscle soreness can be prevented by keeping the intensity, duration, and frequency of exercise within one’s ability level, by progress­ing slowly, by doing daily stretching exercises, and by walking and jogging on a flat surface in the initial stages of training. As fitness improves, uphill and downhill walking and running are carefully introduced into the routine. Soreness is treated with rest, as well as stretching the affected muscles several times per day.

Filed Under: Health & Personal Care


About the Author: Andrew Reinert is a health care professional who loves to share different tips on health and personal care. He is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo and lives in Canada.

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Comments are closed.