Exercise, muscle damage and fatigue

Sports Med. 1992 Feb;13(2):108-15. doi: 10.2165/00007256-199213020-00006.


Fatigue as a functional sign and muscle damage as a structural sign can be observed after prolonged exercise like marathon running or after strenuous exercise, especially with the involvement of eccentric contractions. For fatigue due to prolonged exercise, hypoxic conditions and the formation of free oxygen radicals seem to be of aetiological importance, resulting in an elevated lysosomal activity. Eccentric exercise of high intensity rather results in a mechanical stress to the fibres. Although these different mechanisms can be discerned experimentally, both result in similar impairments of muscle function. A good training status may attenuate the clinical signs of fatigue and muscle damage. The symptoms and events occurring during delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS) can be explained by a cascade of events following structural damage to muscle proteins.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Exercise*
  • Fatigue / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Muscles / injuries
  • Muscles / pathology*
  • Muscles / physiopathology
  • Pain / etiology
  • Rhabdomyolysis / etiology
  • Running
  • Time Factors