When we say "my legs hurt like they have cramps," we are referring to a common feeling of muscle pain or discomfort, generally after performing unusual or intense physical activity.
This "my legs hurt like they're sore" pain is, in medical terms, known as delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
A natural response of the body to effort or exercise to which it is not accustomed. Although it may be uncomfortable, it is generally a sign that our muscles are adapting and strengthening.
This feeling of pain or stiffness in the legs usually appears between 12 and 48 hours after physical activity and can last several days.
Now, it is important to identify and know what causes this leg pain, since, if it persists over time, we may be talking about some type of major condition.
At Shad Bikes we want to help you better understand how soreness works and what you can do to remedy this pain.
What are laces?
Soreness, a colloquial terminology often used when we say "my legs hurt like I have soreness," refers to a specific type of muscle pain.
This pain is a common experience, especially after performing exercises or physical activities that the body is not accustomed to.
Scientifically known as delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), soreness is basically micro-injuries to muscle fibers that occur during intense or unusual exercise.
This condition is responsible for the sensation of pain and stiffness. Unlike acute muscle pain felt during or immediately after exercise, soreness can appear up to two days after physical activity and can last for several days.
The most common causes of soreness are after performing a new type of exercise or increasing the intensity or duration of usual physical activity. Exercises that involve eccentric movements (where the muscles lengthen while supporting weight) such as running downhill, lifting weights, cycling, etc., are particularly likely to cause this type of muscle pain.
Therefore, it is not uncommon for someone to say "my legs hurt like they are sore" after starting a new exercise routine or intensifying their usual workout.
There is another element, and no less important, to take into account: muscle dehydration and loss of some minerals (such as magnesium and potassium), are directly related to the appearance of soreness.
Soreness should not be confused with serious muscle injuries; They are rather a sign of adaptation and muscle strengthening.
How to differentiate soreness from a muscle injury
When we feel that our legs hurt as if we had pain, it is important to know how to differentiate this type of pain from other muscle ailments that may require specialized medical attention.
Soreness usually presents as dull muscle pain and stiffness that appears 12 to 48 hours after strenuous or unusual physical activity.
This type of discomfort is usually temporary and diminishes without specific treatment within a few days.
In contrast, conditions such as muscle tears, tendinitis or repetitive strain injuries present different symptoms, such as acute pain, swelling or loss of strength, and do not improve with rest or time, but require medical evaluation and treatment.
Although sore pain is common and generally harmless, there are certain warning signs that should not be ignored. If the pain is severe and significantly limits movement, or if it is accompanied by swelling, redness, or a feeling of warmth around the affected muscle, it could indicate a more serious injury.
Likewise, if the pain persists for more than a week or occurs without an apparent cause (without having performed prior exercise), it is important to consult a professional.
Therefore, we must be attentive to these symptoms and seek medical advice if the pain seems abnormal or too intense.
Methods for preventing and relieving soreness
When we experience the typical soreness pain, whether in the legs or in another part of the body, there are several strategies to prevent this type of discomfort and try to alleviate it once it has appeared.
Prevention and treatment of soreness
One of the most effective ways to prevent soreness is to warm up properly before any physical activity.
Warming up increases blood flow to the muscles and prepares the body for exercise, reducing the risk of soreness. In addition, gradually increasing the intensity and duration of exercise can help prevent "our legs from hurting as if we were sore," as it allows the muscles to gradually adapt to the effort.
If, despite taking precautions, you still experience this discomfort, there are several techniques to relieve the pain.
One of them is performing low-intensity exercises, such as walking or stretching, which can increase circulation and facilitate muscle recovery.
Applying heat to affected areas can also be beneficial, relaxing muscles and improving blood flow.
In addition to the techniques mentioned, there are several home remedies and treatments that can relieve the sensation of leg pain.
Hydration is crucial, as drinking enough water helps muscles recover. You can also resort to gentle massages, hot water baths or the use of anti-inflammatory creams.
However, it is important to remember that these methods are to relieve symptoms and do not replace medical consultation in case of severe or persistent pain.
As we have said, if you are one of those who exclaims “my legs hurt like they have pain” after doing a hard leg workout or intense cycling exercise, you should keep two things in mind.
If the pain tends to subside, it is indeed pain, but if it persists over time, it is advisable to visit the doctor.
In the first case, soreness, you have two options, rest or one of the relief techniques mentioned, such as:
Adequate rest : Giving your muscles time to recover is crucial. Avoid intense exercise until the pain subsides.
Hydration – Drinking enough water is essential to help muscles recover. Staying well hydrated can also reduce the intensity of soreness.
Heat Application : Using a thermal blanket or hot water bottle, accompanied by a hot bath can relax tense muscles and improve blood flow to the affected area.
Low-intensity exercises : Gentle activities such as walking or light cycling, at cruising speed, can increase circulation and help relieve muscle soreness.
Gentle stretches: Performing gentle, controlled stretches can relieve tension in sore muscles.
Muscle massages – A massage can help reduce stiffness and improve circulation to affected muscles.
Proper nutrition : including foods rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals in your diet can help in muscle recovery. Just as potassium-rich foods, such as bananas, can also be beneficial for recovery.
Over-the-counter painkillers : if the pain is very intense, you can consider taking painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol, always following the manufacturer's instructions. However, this would be one of the last options, if after 48 hours the pain does not begin to subside, followed by a visit to the doctor.