Ask the Doctor

Jason Robertson, MD
Non-Operative Specialist &
Ortho Urgent Care Director

Q: When I leave practice at the end of the day my muscles feel like jelly. How can I tell the difference between stress that will make me stronger and stress that could be damaging?

A: You’re right – some microtrauma is necessary for muscle growth and development. However, if your soreness lasts more than a few days and/or doesn’t improve with rest, you could have injured the muscle group or joint.

Any time we force our muscles to work harder than they normally do, or begin to use them in a new way, we cause microscopic tears to the muscles and surrounding connective tissue. The muscle sourness and stiffness that follows is called delayed-onset muscle soreness, or DOMS for short. And it’s an inflammatory response. DOMS is a normal physiological response that occurs within the first few days after exercise.

However, if it’s extreme or simply won’t go away, you may have caused an injury. It’s great that you’re working hard at your sport. Just don’t push should any pain that causes you to limp or changes your mechanics, and don’t plan to beat your own personal record at the beginning of the season.    

If you’ve been injured or have lingering orthopaedic pain, same-day appointments for Ortho Urgent Care services are available for patients ages five and older. Start your healing right away by calling (423) 624-2696.

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