Change in skeletal muscle stiffness after running competition is dependent on both running distance and recovery time: A pilot study

Seyedali Sadeghi, Cassidy Newman, Daniel H. Cortes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Long-distance running competitions impose a large amount of mechanical loading and strain leading to muscle edema and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Damage to various muscle fibers, metabolic impairments and fatigue have been linked to explain how DOMS impairs muscle function. Disruptions of muscle fiber during DOMS exacerbated by exercise have been shown to change muscle mechanical properties. The objective of this study is to quantify changes in mechanical properties of different muscles in the thigh and lower leg as function of running distance and time after competition. A custom implementation of Focused Comb-Push Ultrasound Shear Elastography (F-CUSE) method was used to evaluate shear modulus in runners before and after a race. Twenty-two healthy individuals (age: 23 ± 5 years) were recruited using convenience sampling and split into three race categories: short distance (nine subjects, 3-5 miles), middle distance (10 subjects, 10-13 miles), and long distance (three subjects, 26Cmiles). Shear Wave Elastography (SWE) measurements were taken on both legs of each subject on the rectus femoris (RF), vastus lateralis (VL), vastus medialis (VM), soleus, lateral gastrocnemius (LG), medial gastrocnemius (MG), biceps femoris (BF) and semitendinosus (ST) muscles. For statistical analyses, a linear mixed model was used, with recovery time and running distance as fixed variables, while shear modulus was used as the dependent variable. Recovery time had a significant effect on the soleus (p = 0.05), while running distance had considerable effect on the biceps femoris (p=0.02), vastus lateralis (p < 0:01) and semitendinosus muscles (p=0.02). Sixty-seven percent of muscles exhibited a decreasing stiffness trend from before competition to immediately after competition. The preliminary results suggest that SWE could potentially be used to quantify changes of muscle mechanical properties as a way for measuring recovery procedures for runners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere4469
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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