Now that the festive season is coming to a close, many of us are thinking about getting back into or starting a new exercise regime.  
One of the most common problems that our clients present with when increasing physcial activity is increased muscular and tendon discomfort due to soft tissue overload or delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMs). Both of these problems are associated with pain however they are not normally linked to significant soft tissue damage so the good news is long periods of rest post exercise are not usually required. 
Dealing with DOMs 
Delayed onset muscle soreness is usually related to increased resistance (weight training) or intense activity which the body's tissue is not used to. It often manifests itself within 24 hours and discomfort levels will usually increase over the next 24-48hrs, significant pain can be experienced however within 2-3 days post exercise the discomfort completely resolves and return to exercise is possible. 
Dealing with soft tissue overload of tendons. 
Tendon pain from overload of soft tissue can occur immediately after exercise or as we cool down. It can be caused by an accumulation of load over a single exercise session or several exercise sessions. Unlike DOMs it can prevail and be a nuisance during future exercise sessions. It is best avoided by graduating exercise or tissue load by no more than 10% per week (10% rule).  
In endurance exercise (like running or cycling etc) the 10% rule can be calculated by recording weekly totals of distance travelled or time spent doing the exercise. 
When it comes to multiple exercise modalities that we may undertake in a gym calculating load becomes a little more tricky, particularly in relation to resistance exercise where certain thresholds may be required to be met in order to improve strength. Rating the intensity of your gym session from 1-10 (1 easy 10 really hard!!) and then multiplying it by the amount of time you exercised for can provide you with a weekly points total that you can then apply the 10% rule to. 
Discomfort due to soft tissue overload that is less than 4/10 (where 10 is the worst pain you could imagine) provided it settles within 24 hours post exercise is usually nothing to worry about so exercise can be continued. However if you are experiencing higher levels of discomfort for a longer period then taking time to recover and allowing the discomfort to settle is recommended. 
If you have any persistent problems which are preventing you from exercising at the level that you would like, feel free to contact us for expert help. 
Craig Fowlie & Associates - here to make your life easier! 
Colchester Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Clinic 
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