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Sore Muscles? How to decrease delayed onset muscle soreness.

By KT Tape | April 29, 2022, 8:07 a.m. (ET)

Athlete running in mud

If you’ve ever experienced extremely sore muscles that made it difficult to climb stairs or even sit on the couch days after your workout, you probably know what delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) feels like.

Muscle soreness is not always a bad thing since soreness is often an indicator that your muscles are adapting to exercise but being too sore can put a damper on your day and get in the way of your upcoming workouts. Recent clinical results show that using kinesiology tape before, during, and after your workout can help reduce post-workout muscle soreness by 50% for days*. With kinesiology tape, you can reduce DOMS and stay on track for your next workout.

What Causes DOMS?

While we’re still learning about the mechanisms behind DOMS, the theory is that after strenuous exercise, the body experiences an influx of muscle spasms, lactic acid, tissue damage, and inflammation, resulting in pain and soreness that typically peaks at 48 hours and continues for up to 7 days.

Anyone can experience DOMS, from elite athletes to weekend warriors. However, it may be more noticeable for people first starting a workout, as their muscles are more likely to be deconditioned and pushing too hard.

New Research on DOMS and Kinesiology Taping

Finally, good news for DOMS sufferers. In a new study, kinesiology taping was shown to significantly reduce muscle soreness after intense exercise.

In the study, a group of participants received kinesiology tape applied to their quadriceps and were then instructed to complete a series of drop jumps from a lifted platform. The non-placebo group received proper placement of the tape, whereas the placebo group received kinesiology tape without any technique or tension.

At the 72-hour mark, researchers asked the participants how they felt. The group with the incorrect placement of kinesiology tape reported more muscle soreness compared to the group with the proper tape placement. They also measured the participants’ serum creatine kinase levels, used to measure muscle damage or injury, and found that the placebo group showed significantly higher levels compared to the non-placebo group.

How Does Kinesiology Taping Reduce DOMS?

More research is needed to help define exactly how kinesiology tape improves muscle recovery; however, these results may indicate that the lifting effect of kinesiology tape could help release the pressure in the soft tissues, allowing lymphatic fluid to move more freely and reduce muscle pain and inflammation.

How to Decrease DOMS

Want to try it yourself? Here are a few simple techniques you can implement before and after your workout to reduce your chances of DOMS.

  • Apply kinesiology tape before exercise. Tape the specific muscle groups you plan to work on at least 30 minutes before exercise and leave the tape on for several days after training. Need help with application? Check out our how-to videos here.)
  • Do some light cardio after your exercise to increase blood flow, such as a walk or quick jog on the treadmill.
  • Make sure to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated before, during, and after your workout to give your muscles the blood flow they need.