Muscle Pain in Athletes with Locomotor Disability


Purpose: Athletes with locomotor disabilities (LDA) participate in many competitive sport activities, yet little is known about sport-related muscle pain (SRMP). This study assessed the prevalence, determinants, and main characteristics of SRMP in LDA.

Methods: A cross-disability epidemiological survey was used to investigate the occurrence of SRMP during the previous year by using a questionnaire administrated by medical doctors. SRMP was defined as any muscle pain experienced during the past 12 months that either occurred during sport activity (training or competition) and/or was reported as a consequence of physical exercise, causing discomfort for at least 1 d and not related to systemic disease. A total of 227 LDA were recruited randomly from the population (567 LDA) who participated in selected National sports events (including swimming, athletics, wheelchair basketball matches, and others) organized by the Italian Federation of Sports for Disabled. Collected data were statistically analyzed with univariate and multivariate logistic regression models to identify possible determinants of SRMP, through the estimate of the prevalence odds ratios.

Results: The SRMP period prevalence rate was equal to 50.7% (95% confidence interval (44.0-57.4%)), ranging from 47.0% (swimmers) to 58.8% (basketball athletes). In 71.1% of cases, SRMP lasted less than 1 wk and only 8.7% experienced pain for more than 1 month. SRMP had a higher prevalence in amputees (75.0%) and spinal cord injured LDA (58.1%) than the other groups. There was increased prevalence rate of SRMP with increased training volume. The multivariate logistic regression model showed disorder type, body mass index, and training volume as determinants of SRMP.

Conclusions: Prospective studies could be devised to assess the role of anthropometric characteristics and training volume as risk factors of SRMP.



Publication Date


Journal Title

Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise


Wolters Kluwer Health

Document Type



Copyright © 2003, (C) 2003The American College of Sports Medicine