Are Your Gams Gone?

by Laura Gordon

Ever used your legs so much one day that the next day they are incredibly sore? Maybe you over did your workout, maybe as a runner you pushed yourself a little harder than usual, maybe you ran up and down the stairs or up and down a ladder moving things around or painting just a tad longer than your body is used to…like all day long!

Whatever the cause, it isn’t long (generally within 24 hours) before your legs are talking to you with every move you make whether sitting down or getting up from a chair, walking across the room or, oh dear, climbing up or down those same dang stairs!

There’s actually a name for that. It’s called Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness aka DOMS. 

The good news is that by massaging those aching legs you will be increasing blood flow into those sore muscles.  Massage will in turn start moving out metabolic wastes that are stuck between the muscles fibers.  The massage will decrease the “soreness” time.   Sadly according to recent controlled studies massage cannot actually stop DOMS but can drastically reduce the length of time you’ll be in agony.

Here are three techniques you can do for your legs before and during DOMS. If you want you can use massage oil and for increased benefit you can add essential oils (about 10 drops of rosemary, eucalyptus or peppermint). To do these massages you can either sit in a chair or sit on the floor:

Working the front (anterior), back (posterior) and both sides (lateral and medial) from upper thigh to foot begin by using both hands to squeeze and release the muscle tissue. Do this on both legs.


Working from the knee to the ankle use a rhythmic motion by rolling the calf muscle back and forth between the heels of your hands. Do this on both legs.


 Working up and down both legs pressing deeper into the muscle of the whole leg using circular movement with the heel of your hand or your fingertips.

There is a caution of which you need to be aware: if any of these moves are painful, your muscles may be very tight or you may have shin splints or some other injury. If you don’t see any improvement or if the pain is intense, discontinue self-massage and consult your massage therapist or physician.

44 thoughts on “Are Your Gams Gone?”

  1. I used to go salsa dancing every so often and I wish I’d had this information for the next couple of days afterwards! Thanks for the great information, keep it coming!

  2. This is very good information for after I take my walks over the weekends. This is great and needy information. Thank You Laura!!!

  3. Ready to give this a try and my daughter is on her legs all day on a concrete floor so I am sure she will give it a try. Except will want meto do the massaging. Thanks

  4. This is really great information for after those walks around the neighborhood. It will definitely come in handy. Thanks Laura!

  5. Love the idea of adding the aromatherapy oils for increased benefit. I did not know what oils could benefit in this situation. Thanks Laura.

  6. I used to run a lot in high school and i always used techniques like these to help with the soreness. I know they do work very well.

    -Brittany Raines

  7. This is definitaley useful informations. Even though I’m use to working on my feet I do occassionally get sore. So now when I go to the gym I won’t dread getting to sore. Thanks

  8. I’m getting back into running and I definitely need this. Stretching is NOT enough! Here’s to hoping I can have fewer days where I don’t want to move.

  9. Yes, I have done some maybe all of this before after working or working out too hard. My thought the next day is always, “wow, how bad would I have hurt had I not done the massage.” One would think it would get easier after a while. I’m still waiting. But I do know that if I over “do” and don’t massage my legs before bed that they tend to cramp. Thanks.

  10. Thanks Laura – going to a soccer tournament this next weekend, theres 16 of them so self massage techniques are realy useful!

  11. There have been and will be many days when my legs are/will be sore from activities the day before. I always just pushed through the soreness and tried not to think much about it (except a little second nature rub here and there). Now, that it has actually been pointed out to me, I will try these techniques and see what they have to offer. Although, I’m sure that if they work similar to everything else I have picked up in my Massage Therapy program, I will be glad that I made the extra effort to give my legs a little extra attention.

    Now if I can just stop running after my toddler long enough to give them that “me time”. Thanks Laura

  12. Very nice info. I can’t bend like that so I will leave to my therapist. Problem is, 3 week wait here.!!! so maybe hubby can learn. Can we PLEASE have the latest tip on INSOMNIA, really, I can’t go much longer.???

  13. Another bit of wonderful information to have. Good to have for our clients and ourselves. As we all know, maintenance is key in this profession. Thanks 🙂

  14. Yes I have had problems with my legs because Im short so have a few problems. Like sitting in chairs and my feet dont touch the grown and then it feels like my legs go num. I also know other problem that stand on there feet all day lonog and have problems becasue of that. So this will be very helpful for me and I will surely use it to MY advantage!! Thank you!!

  15. Great information. This is will be helpful after a leg workout. Also very good for my recovery time between workouts!

  16. This is good information I will use the next time I over exert myself on one of my long runs. I will also recommend these techniques to others. Its amazing what a little rubbing can accomplish.

  17. I have been a distance runner for years and have never heard this. I’m going to spread it to the running community.

  18. it was very informational and very interesting.. at times i do have problems with my lags …like standing for a long period of time going to try this out…

  19. This sounds like it would help a lot. Being on your feet all day, or having to squat repeatedly can make the legs sore indeed. I wish I would have known this when I was younger and athletic. Alas, better late than never. Thanks Laura for sharing this massage tip with us.

  20. I could have used this during the season when calling softball and football. I will use it and pass it on to other officials.

  21. I really enjoyed this one. I can not wait until I can use it on myself. I tend to push myself a little much on the weekend trying to shove all my hours at work into the 3 days I have available so come sunday night they are talking to me. This will be a great technique to use on my brother as well. He runs ALOT so Im sure he will appreciate this.

  22. I really enjoyed this routine! Not only did it help alleviate soreness from my muscles, but it also helped prevent the onset of soreness when I practiced doing this before any extraneous activity.