Muscle soreness can occur immediately following sprint training, known as acute muscle soreness. Soreness also can be felt a day or two after training, known as delayed-onset muscle soreness, or DOMS. Acute muscle soreness is a result of fluid shifting from blood to muscle tissue as a filtering process. DOMS is likely a result of actual muscle damage. MedlinePlus recommends consulting a physician if you have severe pain, or if pain beyond normal soreness persists for more than three days. This could be a sign of more serious injury.
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Stretch each joint through a full range of motion after a workout. Hold stretches for at least 10 to 30 seconds and repeat. This can promote increased blood flow to the sore area and repair damaged muscle tissue.
Apply an ice pack to the sore muscles after stretching to reduce pain and swelling. Apply a cloth-covered ice bag to the sore area for 20 minutes.
Compress the sore muscle with a wrap or towel for 20 minutes. This will limit excessive swelling and pain in more severe cases of DOMS.
Elevate the sore muscle above the heart to limit blood flow to the area. In cases of more severe DOMS, this provides an additional method for reducing pain and swelling. You can elevate the sore area while applying an ice pack or compressing the area with a towel.
Soreness usually occurs when the body is adapting to a new exercise stimulus. Besides stretching, ice, compression and elevation, the body needs to adjust to a new level of training. Therefore, continue exercising, even if it's low intensity. According to Peak Performance, soreness is actually a sign of your muscles getting stronger.