Mysterious leg stiffness appeared after running. Not sure what this is...
April 29, 2011 9:55 AM   Subscribe

I took a month off from my running routine before running again. 5 days later this muscle stiffness feeling has not gone away. It's painful enough that it hurts to walk, especially down stairs. What is this?

I've tried stretching and going for a light walk, those just seemed to make the feeling worse. I don't really know what I'm dealing with here. Is this something I should see a doctor about?
posted by audio to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Did you start off with your routine where you left off-- in terms of miles and speed? I've noticed that even taking a couple of weeks off really can decrease my base.

The rule I've always stuck with is to increase no more than 10% per week to avoid injury, so maybe starting a with a low-mileage week and working from there would be better. After a month off, it might be frustrating to start with a <1>
Also, it's probably stretching after, rather than stretching before, that is likely to help with soreness, but that may be the way you're already doing it.
posted by activitystory at 10:00 AM on April 29, 2011

Ride your bike. I find that works the soreness out more effectively than anything else.

But yeah, you're not going to be able to dive right back in with your regular routine. Ramp back up to it.
posted by notsnot at 10:24 AM on April 29, 2011

Welcome back to DOMS.
posted by unixrat at 10:29 AM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeah, sounds like DOMS. Did you have a lot of downhill in your run? Downhills are what do it for me.

My experience with this is that nothing I do makes it much better or worse; my usual strategy is to take it easy but keep moving.
posted by mskyle at 10:37 AM on April 29, 2011

After a hard run, soak in a very cold bath for 10 minutes, then soak in a warm/hot bath after. Cold causes constriction that helps move out the lactic acid build up, hot brings the blood back in to repair the damage from the exercise.

I find it cuts the soreness down to a third or less of what you get when you don't do it.
posted by yeloson at 10:53 AM on April 29, 2011

You will definitely get some DOMS after taking a month off and then just jumping back into your old routine. However, what, in particular, is hurting? Calves? Hips? I have recently switched to a more minimalist style of running, and I probably went out a bit too hard the first few times -- and my calves got super sore and took days to get better. Definitely sounds like you just overdid it -- there are lots of things you can do ice, stretching, foam rollers, rolling on a tennis/lacrosse ball, etc.
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 11:33 AM on April 29, 2011

Whenever I get muscle soreness I do the same activity that made me sore but in a lighter way. Like if I did a 300lb squat 3x5 I'd do squats again the next day with 125lbs 3x5 or something.
So whatever you did for your run do half the distance\half the speed.

5 days is a bit too long for DOMS though. If it persists a few more days I'd see a Doctor.
posted by zephyr_words at 11:39 AM on April 29, 2011

2nding yeloson's cold bath advice. I usually only do this after really long runs and races, but it has cut my soreness in half. Plus, it's sort of an interesting experience-- the talking your self into taking the plunge.
posted by activitystory at 12:01 PM on April 29, 2011

It could be Rhabdomyolysis. This happened to me when I resumed a weight lifting program after a couple months of sitting around. I was so sore it hurt every time I moved. Ended up going to the ER for chest tightness which turned out to be due to a mild case of Rhabdomyolysis. Treatment was a day and night in the hospital with a saline IV. You should be drinking tons of water and resting. If that doesn't help or you start experiencing other symptoms go to the ER.
posted by smokingmonkey at 4:50 PM on April 29, 2011

What's sore, where? There's not enough info. If it's your knee/thigh, it could very well be tightness in your Iliotibial band - ITB. This often happens to runner's who have been out for a while and haven't been stretching. Stairs are the killer; google around from some stretches to make it better, and back off on the mileage.

If it's your calves - also killer on stairs - it could be shin splits, or simply doms as alluded to above. Stretching will only help somewhat with this. Again, back of the mileage. :)
posted by smoke at 5:48 PM on April 29, 2011

« Older I want more empathy.   |   This is a trap isn't it? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.