Pacific Coast Soccer League

Metrotown Orthopedic & Sports Physiotherapy ClinicSOCCER AND YOUR BODY

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

By Marc R. Rizzardo B.Sc. P.T., M.P.E., B.P.E., Dip. Sports Physio
Chief Therapist 2007 Pan Am Canadian Medical Team
Metrotown Orthopedic & Sports Physiotherapy Clinic, Burnaby, BC

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With the PCSL season upon us many players are experiencing some muscle fatigue and pain on the days following their training and/or pre-season games. This is known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). It is usually felt 12-48 hours after the activity of choice. This is quite common and should not be seen as a negative aspect of training.

Causes of DOMS

Most of us in the field feel that DOMS is brought on by the microscopic tearing of the muscle fibers. Although it is not totally proven it would appear that ECCENTRIC muscle contraction seems to cause the most soreness. For soccer players, training that includes squats, running down hills and down stairs, and lowering of weights will be the culprit more so than running up hills or normal leg press exercises.


Warm up using dynamic stretches and Cool down using static stretches. It has been proven that static stretches before playing will inhibit peak performance for up to 2 hours. The Cool down will benefit the removal of lactic acid build up.
Incorporate recovery days into the training program when possible.
Develop a training regime that is slow and gradual. If your pre-season training includes running down hills and stairs, include an equal amount of uphill running.
Slowly increase the amount of time and intensity of the pre-season training. Gradually increase the time and intensity so that the muscles being used can adapt readily to the new stresses put on it.
If swelling occurs, make sure that it is DOMS and not a tear of a muscle that might need sports physiotherapists to look at it. If it is a tear visit a qualified sports physiotherapist for their opinion on the proper rehabilitation program. Also, ice is a good friend in reducing pain and swelling.
Always include specific rest between sessions so that the muscles have a chance to regenerate. Micro tearing in the musculature is not uncommon.

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