Muscle fiber damage and secondary inflammation cause post-exercise muscle soreness (DOMS; delayed-onset muscle soreness). DOMS temporarily decreases muscle strength and makes it difficult to train intensely. Most treatments, such as ice, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, massage, and hot baths don’t work.
Matthew Cooke, from Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia, found that creatine monohydrate taken five days before and 17 days after intense eccentric (negative) exercise reduced symptoms of muscle soreness and promoted recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage. Creatine kinase, a marker of muscle damage, was 84 percent less in young men taking creatine. This study used untrained subjects, so the results might be different in highly-trained, elite athletes. (Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 6: 13, 2009; published online)