We all know the feeling. You just smashed a really hard workout, you increased your weights in the gym, or you returned to volleyball training after taking the Summer off. You feel great – until you wake up the next morning, and you can barely move!

Delayed onset muscle soreness (better known as DOMS) is “muscle soreness that becomes evident six to eight hours following activity, peaking around 24 to 48 hours post-training”.DOMS is most pronounced when you introduce a new training stimulus or if you are new to physical activity in general. It is thought to be the result of microtrauma in the muscles and surrounding connective tissues,which causes inflammation and hence pain.

Muscle discomfort is the most common symptom of DOMS but there are others, including reduced flexibility, joint stiffness, local swelling and tenderness and reduced muscle strength. These symptoms appear gradually following exercise and are not to be confused with acute pain that may arise during physical activity.3

There are a number of suggested ways to help reduce delayed onset muscle soreness. These include sports massage (which increases blood flow to the muscles to assist in healing), foam rolling, hot/cold showers, and sleep.


So what do you do when it is more than just soreness?

There may be times when you overdo it with your workout and feel really bad. Should you be concerned?

If it’s an injury, you’re more likely to feel it immediately during your workout. Soreness on the other hand, will appear gradually, often the next day. In addition, if your level of soreness does not go down significantly after 72 hours, it may be worth touching base with your physiotherapist to be sure you haven’t done any damage.

If you have an injury concern or would like more information, please contact Star Physio on 9481 1003.




  1. Jon Mike, University of New Mexico
  2. Clinics in Sports Medicine
  3. Amercian College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)