Sore thighs typically occur after engaging in high-intensity workouts or exercises involving the legs for an extended period of time. The discomfort experienced by the individual is linked to the workout-induced damage to the muscle fibers.
The pain is only momentary and must diminish significantly within 72 hours. It is vital to fully understand the various types of workouts that can cause the thighs to become sore so that the individual can schedule his/her physical activity to prevent one.
Types of soreness
There are two forms of muscle soreness that you should be familiar with. During or right after completing a workout session that involves the legs, the individual might end up with sore thighs.
Take note that this form of soreness is only momentary and must subside shortly after the workout. The most prevalent form of soreness is called as delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) which occurs about 24-72 hours after engaging in an intense workout. The discomfort experienced by the individual can range from minor tenderness of the thigh to pain that can be debilitating.
What is delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS)?
After the individual finishes an intense workout that involves the thighs, the muscles end up with small-sized tears all over the fibers. Take note that this damage is considered beneficial in order to improve the leg strength since the damage stimulates the body to start the healing and recovery process.
The muscles adapt to the stress from the workouts and make the necessary adjustments, thus healing them with improved ability to produce force and at an increased size. On the other hand, while the muscles heal, the thigh sores can cause a momentary reduction in the degree of flexibility and muscle strength and power. After the muscles have recovered, they are not likely to suffer that intensity or soreness until the duration or intensity is increased.
Most cases of delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) are caused by the eccentric contractions during the workout. The eccentric contractions occur when the muscles are lengthened while contracting.
A good example of eccentric contraction is when an individual lowers a dumbbell during a bicep curl. The bicep muscle contracts to control the weight down while at the same time, it lengthens.
High-intensity leg strength training, walking or running down hills or repetitive squatting are characterized by large amounts of eccentric contractions and can break down the muscle fibers, thus resulting to sore thighs.
Treatment and prevention
The sore thighs can be relieved by massage as well as using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The commonly used forms of treatments such as application of ice and stretching were not able to relieve the muscle soreness.
Resuming an exercise routine is highly effective in reducing the discomfort or soreness, but it is only temporary. Nevertheless, jogging can increase the flow of blood to the legs and minimize sore thighs for a short span of time. Athletes must avoid increasing the intensity or volume of the workout before engaging in competitions in order to prevent soreness as well as the related physical limitations.