Most of us know the feeling of sore legs after a few hard workouts – but what is the science behind it? Learn more about why your legs hurt after exercise.
These conditions are more than just an ailment; they can stop your activities entirely for the week or even longer. Although a healthcare professional should consider any severe or prolonged pain, you can treat general conditions and pain at home. The next time you plan a strenuous workout, be sure to avoid pain the next day.
Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)
If you experience sore muscles, you probably have delayed muscle soreness, also known as DOMS. These symptoms can occur 24 to 72 after strenuous exercise, including strength training, running, jogging, or going up and down hills.
For the most part, DOMS is experienced only as pain; but other symptoms may include tenderness around the muscle. Rest, and do not resume the special training caused until you feel better.
Treatment and prevention of DOMS
Fortunately, even if the pain is terrible, DOMS usually does not require medical attention. However, if the pain is only debilitating or if you experience severe swelling, see your GP. Otherwise, take a break from the activity to let the symptoms subside, although easy exercise will not worsen. Apply ice packs, massage the sore area, and consider over-the-counter pain relievers to relieve pain.
To prevent DOMS, quickly get into a new exercise routine. Although you may not prevent soreness together – any muscle that has the fibers broken down via strength training will feel the effect the next day – gradual progress will make it much less painful. A proper warm-up also helps reduce the amount of pain you will feel later.
Other possible causes
Some other potential conditions may cause your legs to hurt.
A cause of leg pain after exercise can be fluid accumulated in your lower extremities, which happens when the veins do not move blood out of the legs fast enough. The emotions caused by this accumulation include cramps, pain, and burning. Those who have generally been inactive or overweight are more likely to experience an accumulation of fluid in the veins.
Exercise of the calf muscle can also cause leg pain after exercise. A lack of warm-up can cause a strain on the leg before starting the workout. In general, rest is necessary to allow the load to heal entirely before exercising.
The sudden pain in the legs after exercise can be a symptom of a peripheral artery or vascular disease. This condition is a blockage of the arteries in the heart. When this happens in your legs, you may feel weakness and pain. Several risk factors include being over 50, having high blood pressure or diabetes, and smoking.