Friday, 29 January 2016

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)

Delayed onset muscle soreness predominantly affects the muscle after unaccustomed physical activities. This exercise-induced condition happens after a period of reduced activity or can occur when certain types of activities are first introduced. The discomfort can range from mild muscle tenderness to severe debilitating pain. Mild muscle soreness and joint stiffness usually disappear with mild to moderate intensity daily activities. The intensity of the pain usually increases within the first 24 hours and the pain can remain up to 72 hours. Most of the time the pain will subside 5 to 7 days post-exercise with relative rest.

DOMS is a type I muscle strain injury. A prolonged period of unfamiliar high force muscle work can cause the onset of DOMS. Eccentric exercises that require muscle contraction at a lengthened position cause more micro-damage to the muscle. Some of the examples of eccentric activities include downhill running, resisted cycling, ballistic stretching, stepping and eccentric resistance training.

There are a few hypothesised theories proposed for the cause of DOMS such lactic acid, muscle spasm, connective tissue damage, muscle damage, inflammation and the enzyme efflux theories. One single theory cannot explain the onset of DOMS. The integration of several theories in unique sequences can better explain the onset of DOMS in detail.

The performance of an athlete can be affected by DOMS as the joint range of motion, shock attenuation ability and peak torque of a joint is reduced. Muscle ligaments and tendons are at a higher risk of injury as muscle sequencing and recruitment patterns are altered. This can result in abnormal stresses placed on ligaments and tendons. Therefore, premature return to sport may precipitate further injury.

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