At some point all of us experience some kind of muscle pain in legs and there are three different kinds of them that are associated with exercising: soreness during the time performing an exercise or immediately after the exercise, delayed onset of the muscle pains, and then there are the muscle cramps.
Muscle pain in legs during exercise
You might experience pain or discomfort in case of performing exercises that require significant effort, a high level of energy or muscle effort. There is no study that would show us why the legs’ muscle pain occurs, but it has been observed that usually this happens in case of those muscles that have a limited blood supply, so it could be caused by a byproduct of the muscle metabolism.
It is known that sodium bicarbonate intake will also delay the commencement of pain, and so it is believed that this metabolite has an acidic character.
One of the likeliest metabolites is lactic acid but there are also some others that are worth to be mentioned, such as pyruvic acid and ammonia.
There have been several researches conducted and they had different findings. Nonetheless it is thought that the legs’ muscle pain in the contracting muscles is multifactorial and it is related to the combination of ionic shifts at the level of the cell membrane, acidic intermediate metabolites and changes in the muscle cell proteins.
Delayed onset muscle soreness
This kind of legs’ muscle pain can be experienced 24-48 hours after working out, and it usually peaks at 48 to 72 hours. It is more uncomfortable after ‘eccentric’ muscle activity which means that it is caused by high tension on muscle fibers and tissue. In case you are doing some isometric or static workout routines, you shouldn’t experience such muscle pain in legs.
It’s not only the soreness that we are talking about in this case, but also the decrease of muscle strength. The only thing that can be measured is the leakage of muscle proteins into the blood. All this indicates that the source of the legs’ muscle pain is actual muscle damage.
According to certain theories, small doses of muscle damage will offer cumulative protection over the time, and this is the reason behind gradually progressive exercise training program.
The muscle pain in legs known as muscle cramp appears when the muscles are used beyond their accustomed limit. This is why usually they appear after a long ride or vigorous sprint. Even more, this kind of legs’ muscle pain is one of the most common complaints of marathon participants.
There has been a study conducted regarding cyclists, and it has been found that about 70% of the male participants experienced muscle cramps. Alternatively, only about 30% of the female participants experienced the same pain. The cramps can occur during the activity or shortly afterwards. Also it gets more common with age.
The muscle pain in legs is caused by an intense or active contraction of the muscle cells. Also in some cases they might be caused by fluid and electrolyte imbalance.