Having sore muscles after a good workout can be normal, and the term for this is delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). The soreness experienced is a typical part of the inflammation and strengthening process that occurs as the body repairs micro-tears in the muscles after exertion.
Typically, DOMS presents between 24 and 72 hours after a workout. DOMS is not experienced at rest, but instead when using the muscles that were exercised. If the soreness returns or lingers, it could indicate an injury, underlying movement dysfunction, or susceptibility to injury that should be addressed before it gets worse.
Muscle soreness post-workout when at rest is not normal and usually indicates that the muscle has been injured, to some extent. An injured muscle often forms a trigger point or a “knot” that can cause soreness when the muscle is being used, stretched, or at rest.
In Virginia, Direct Access laws allow you to consult with a physical therapist without a physician referral if you experience any lingering soreness or a new injury.
Charles Steadman, PT, DPT, MTC, CMTPT
Orthopedic Physical Therapy, Inc.
Richmond | 804.285.0148