Why do we have shoelaces?

There are different theories that explain those pains that appear in the muscle after intense exercise. One of the things that is said about them is that they occur when the muscle is not trained, ie it happens only to people who do not have training. And that's not entirely true. I work at the top sports Council with elite athletes and at the beginning of the season at least some of them also have stiffness.

That's because stiffness appears when you submit the muscle to an effort for which it is not prepared at that time, or what is the same, to an overexertion. The difference between those elite athletes and the rest of the people who do exercise is that the first ones who are very prepared, they last much less.

Stiffness is caused by an excess of work in the muscles. Your medical name is myalgia deferred or late onset muscle pain. For a time it was thought that it was due to the damage that lactic acid produced in the affected muscles. This theory is currently discarded. The most accepted hypothesis today is that the stiffness is due to the intense exercise produces microrroturas of muscle fibers. There is another minority theory but that in my opinion makes sense together with that of the Microrroturas and is that the shoelaces are caused by the increase of local and intramuscular temperature that produces an intense exercise, an increase in temperature that increases the Microlesiones. I think the two are united and are the cause of shoelaces.

These microrroturas and microlesions cause inflammation of the tissue and this inflammatory process has all the consequences associated with it, one of them is the sensation of pain when the organism defends itself from that inflammation. But why does it hurt? Because some substances that provoke nociceptive stimuli are released, that is to say, those stimuli of the nerves that the brain interprets as pain.

¿Por qué tenemos agujetas?

Stiffness lasts more or less depending on the degree of Microrroturas. They usually appear the day after intense exertion or even two days. And they usually last between two or three days. The time that lasts depends much on the physical preparation that the athlete has, for example the athletes of high level the shoelaces are removed immediately. And they also decrease in time if they are treated. Many times we see marathoners that when they finish the races they put their legs in plastic pools with water and ice cubes. Or the NBA players when they finish the game they put in ice water the legs, the hands. And that's to decrease inflation. Cold water is a good treatment against stiffness. It is very comforting although the principle seems that the muscles are burning, that is because it increases the vascularization in that tissue and makes it mobilize more all the waste products, also those of the own microrroturas. In other words, pain and inflammation disappear faster.

It is also useful to exercise low intensity for that muscle reregularize its metabolism, its contractility and facilitate recovery. Gentle stretching or a discharging massage is very effective in favour of the disposal of these waste products.

¿Por qué tenemos agujetas?

This is the way to fight them but there are also preventive actions to avoid them. The thing about taking sugar envelopes that is recommended sometimes not only does not improve the shoelaces but it is detrimental to the organism. The best way to prevent them is, in addition to being very well hydrated as dehydration increases muscle injury, have a good diet. Eating a suitable menu before doing sport gets the proper reserves of glycogen, ATP and phosphocreatine, the products that give energy to the cells, and that makes the muscle is fit for exercise. If for example you are going to do a hike, hiking, you have to prepare, not just a little while before but even the day before. You must know how you have to feed yourself to prepare your muscles. The adaptation of the food regulation and the exercise that will be carried out. It is also important to warm up before you start exercising, that muscles do not enter into that intense cold exercise.

It is important to know that shoelaces are also the subject of research. Right now, for example, I run a study to assess the isokinetic muscle strength in athletes with and without shoelaces. What we want to see is how stiffness affects muscle strength in volunteers who undergo intense exercise. We measure the strength of your muscles before exercising intensely, when you already have the stiffness and once you have passed them. What we are trying to understand is how stiffness affects muscle strength.