Context: Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is common after unfamiliar, repeated eccentric contractions, or intense exercise. Symptoms of DOMS can range from moderate to severe pain and point tenderness. Many therapeutic interventions are used to decrease the symptoms of DOMS, but currently there is no gold standard. Objective: The aim of this study was to explore the most efficient treatment to decrease DOMS. Participants: Twenty-seven participants (5 male, 22 female) between the ages of 18 to 25 (19.81 + 1.79) were recruited. Methods: Values of perceived soreness were recorded with the use of a visual analog scale ranging from 0 to 100 (0=none, 25=mild, 50=moderate, 75=severe, 100=worst). Participants were randomly placed into four treatment groups (cold whirlpool (CWP)=5, warm whirlpool (WWP)=5, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs)=5, foam roll (FR)=6) and one control group (CON=6). Participants completed a 30 minute stepping protocol with a predetermined high intensity cadence to induce DOMS. Results: A repeated measures analysis of variance (RMANOVA) was used to analyze data. No significant differences were observed for raw score decrease or percentage of decrease of soreness values. However differences between the groups were noted. WWP had the lowest overall average raw score value (24.8) and CWP had the highest average (28.76). FR had the lowest average raw score at 72 hours (16.667) and NSAIDs had the highest average (30) at 72 hours. WWP was the first group to have the highest percentage decrease (11%) between 24 and 48 hours, whereas FR saw the greatest percentage decrease overall (25.8%) between 48 and 72 hours. CON had the greatest initial increase (23%) between zero and 24 hours, and NSAIDs had the least amount of decrease (15%) between 48 and 72 hours. Conclusion: Relief of DOMS can benefit active individuals. WWP and FR were the two best treatments to help decrease symptoms associated with DOMS by 72 hours. More research about parameters of these therapeutic interventions can help identify better therapeutic interventions for DOMS.


Matthew Kutz

Second Reader

Matthew Laurent