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Smith2020_Article_MusclePainInducedByHypertonicS.pdf (925.37 kB)

Muscle pain induced by hypertonic saline in the knee extensors decreases single-limb isometric time to task failure

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journal contribution
posted on 2020-09-15, 15:55 authored by Samuel A Smith, Dominic Micklewright, Sam WinterSam Winter, Alexis R Mauger
Purpose: Increased nociceptive activity and the experience of exercise-induced pain (EIP) may contribute to fatigue during endurance exercise. To investigate this, a pain model that produces pain similar to EIP and decouples its relationship to exercise intensity is required. This study (1) compared the quality of pain caused by a hypertonic saline injection into the vastus lateralis in resting and exercise conditions, and (2) investigated whether this pain contributes to changes in time to task failure. Methods: On separate days, 18 participants completed a time to task failure at 20% maximal voluntary torque (MVT), a resting hypertonic saline intramuscular injection, and in a further three visits a time to task failure at 10% MVT following injection of isotonic saline, hypertonic saline or a control (no injection). Results: In a subset of eligible participants (n = 12), the hypertonic saline combined with 10% MVT produced a qualitative experience of pain (assessed by the McGill Pain Questionnaire) that felt similar to EIP. 10% MVT with hypertonic saline significantly elevated pain intensity in the first 20% of the time to task failure and caused a significantly (P < 0.05) shorter time to task failure (448 ± 240 s) compared with the isotonic saline (605 ± 285 s) and control (514 ± 197 s) conditions. Conclusion: These findings demonstrate that hypertonic saline increases the intensity of pain during exercise, which results in a faster occurrence of exercise-induced fatigue. These results provide important evidence supporting pain as a limiting factor in endurance performance.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

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European Journal of Applied Physiology






2047 - 2058


Springer Science and Business Media LLC


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© The Authors

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This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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Dr Sam Winter. Deposit date: 14 September 2020

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