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J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2015 Jul;19(3):458-63. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2014.11.008. Epub 2014 Nov 24.

Effect of massage on DOMS in ultramarathon runners: A pilot study.

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Studi Fisioterapici di Montagna, Italy. Electronic address:
SUPSI Scuola Universitaria per la Svizzera Italiana, Lugano, Switzerland.
Istituti Clinici di Perfezionamento di Milano, Italy.
Università del Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy.
Studi Fisioterapici di Montagna, Italy.


In recent years, the popularity of ultramarathons has increased. During these competitions, musculoskeletal problems are very common. Among the more frequent of those problems is the onset of muscle pain, which is defined in the literature as delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS). The present study aimed to collect epidemiological data regarding the onset of musculoskeletal problems during the Tor des Geants (International ultramarathon race of 330 km in length and 24,000 m in elevation difference) and to describe the effects of massage on reducing pain and overall perceived improvement in a sample of 25 athletes who complained of DOMS. Two hundred and twenty-one treatments were performed on 220 ultramarathon runners, of which 207 were males and 34 were females; the age group most represented ranged from 40 to 50 years. The most common symptom was pain, which occurred in more than 95% of cases, and the most affected area was the lower extremities (90% of subjects). In the analysed subjects, treatment with massage generated a significant (p < 0.0001) improvement. The numeric pain rating scale (NPRS) value was 3.6 points on average (SD 2.1) after massage, and there were no cases of worsening DOMS after massage as determined using the patient global impression of change (PGIC). The values of minimal clinically important difference (MCID) in DOMS management were calculated on the basis of the ROC curves and two other anchor-based methods in the PGIC and were 2.8-3.9 points on the NPRS. In the context analysed, massage was an effective treatment to reduce DOMS during the onset of symptoms.


DOMS; Massage; Ultramarathons

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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