Structural and mechanical basis of exercise-induced muscle injury

Jan Fridén*, Richard L. Lieber

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

333 Scopus citations


It is well documented in both animal and human studies that unaccustomed, particularly eccentric, muscle exercise may cause damage of muscle fiber contractile and cytoskeletal components. These injuries typically include:Z-band streaming and dissolution, A-band disruption, disintegration of the intermediate filament system, and misalignment of the myofibrils. The mechanical basis for this damage is suggested to be due to the fiber strain magnitude rather than the absolute stress imposed on the fiber. We hypothesize that eccentric contraction-induced damage occurs early in the treatment period, i.e., within the first few minutes. The structural abnormalities predominate in the fast-twitch glycolytic fibers. In the final section of this paper, we hypothesize a damage scheme, based on the muscle fiber oxidative capacity as a determining factor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)521-529
Number of pages9
JournalMedicine and science in sports and exercise
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1992


  • Cytoskeleton
  • Disruption
  • Fast-twitch glycolytic fibers
  • Muscle fiber
  • Myofibrillar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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