European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 118, Issue 11, pp 2393–2402 | Cite as

Delayed muscle onset soreness in the gastrocnemius muscle attenuates the spinal contribution to interlimb communication

  • Sabata GervasioEmail author
  • Sara Finocchietti
  • Andrew J. T. Stevenson
  • Natalie Mrachacz-Kersting
Original Article



Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) has been shown to induce changes in muscle activity during walking. The aim of this study was to elucidate whether DOMS also affects interlimb communication during walking by investigating its effect on short-latency crossed responses (SLCRs).


SLCRs were elicited in two recording sessions by electrically stimulating the tibial nerve of the ipsilateral leg, and quantified in the contralateral gastrocnemius muscle. The second recording session occurred 24–36 h after the participants (n = 11) performed eccentric exercises with the ipsilateral calf.


DOMS caused a decreased magnitude of the spinally mediated component of the SLCR in the contralateral gastrocnemius medialis.


The results of the current study provide insight on the relationship between pain and motor control. Muscle pain affects the spinal pathway mediating interlimb communication, which might result in a reduced ability to maintain dynamical stability during walking.


DOMS Reflexes Interlimb communication Human locomotion Interlimb coordination 



Contralateral gastrocnemius lateralis


Contralateral gastrocnemius medialis


Delayed onset muscle soreness


Ipsilateral soleus


Ipsilateral tibialis anterior


Short-latency component


Pressure pain thresholds


Root mean square


Surface electromyogram


Short-latency component


Short-latency crossed response


Author contributions

SG, SF and NM conceived and designed research. SG and SF conducted experiments. SG and AS analyzed data. SG wrote the manuscript. All authors read and approved the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sabata Gervasio
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sara Finocchietti
    • 2
  • Andrew J. T. Stevenson
    • 1
  • Natalie Mrachacz-Kersting
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Health Science and Technology, Center for Sensory-Motor Interaction (SMI)Aalborg UniversityAalborgDenmark
  2. 2.U-VIP: Unit for Visually Impaired People, Center for Human TechnologiesItalian Institute of Technology (IIT)GenovaItaly

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