Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness

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Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness

 Sore muscles after exercise? 

Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness is exercise related muscle pain, which develops after excessive or strenuous exercise.

What Causes DOMS?

DOMS is caused by muscle strain, these micro traumas result in an inflammatory response.  The muscle soreness is caused by eccentric exercise, that is where the muscles contract while lengthening i.e long distance running.

Swelling alters the muscle firing patterns and pain is thought to be the reason why muscle strength, motions and functions are impaired


A dull muscle ache develops over 24-48 hours after exercise, it is localised to the muscle/s that have been worked during the exercise which will result in muscle stiffness plus tenderness.

It also results in short term loss of muscle strength, a reduced joint range of motion and possibly swelling of the affected muscle groups.  Good news is as soon as you start moving your sore muscles will actually start to feel less sore.


DOMS should be treated with active rest and anti-inflammatory measures such as ice baths, gentle massage, foam rollers or compression garments have been shown to provide a reduction in the duration and severity of DOMS.

Avoid Deep tissue massage during first 24 hours and excessive muscle stretching and avoid aggressive exercise during the recovery phase.

Preventing DOMS

To minimise DOMS:

  • Gradually build up the exercise you do in your program
  • Only increase your sets, reps and weights by 10% per week
  • Be aware of the amount of eccentric exercise you are including in your workouts
  • Ensure you do a thorough cool down following your workout
  • Long Distance runners should incorporate eccentric quadriceps training into their training

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