Muscle fever is the official name for a very common (practically inevitable) ailment occurring for the few days following after intense physical labor/exercise for anyone not used to regular physical effort. After a good work-out, without regular training, you are guaranteed to have your muscles ache a lot on the next day and possibly some days following that.

My editor/proofreader wrote:

I had never heard of this until I looked it up. I think I can guarantee that your readers won't recognize it, either. Maybe you could explain this more?

I just don't believe there's no more common name for this. It's far too common a thing; everyone not on a daily training regimen will experience this after any intense work-out. What is its called commonly?

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    Do you mean Delayed onset muscle soreness? This is more of a medical question, though... – user3169 May 10 '15 at 22:04
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    Perhaps your editor has never been into any sports. I've gotten such soreness a few times myself (usually on the day after a heavy exercise, which seems likelier to happen on my first day coming back to the court after a long break). Muscle fever would be the word for me, so I'm curious to hear its alternatives too! – Damkerng T. May 10 '15 at 22:13
  • @user3169: Yes, that's what I mean, and that name sounds even more obscure. – SF. May 10 '15 at 22:13
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    I agree with your editor. I'm well aware of the soreness that follows an intense workout after a long period of laziness. But I've never once heard the term muscle fever and even having heard it would never guess that's what it meant. I just talk about being sore: I worked out yesterday for the first time since Christmas and man am I sore. – Jim May 10 '15 at 23:00
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    I don't think it's "official" in any sense. It's inaccurate and unlikely to be used by a doctor, and although everyone knows your muscles get sore after exercise, in my experience practically no one calls it by this name. Someone edited it into Wikipedia, that's all. (Maybe it's a dialect term?) – snailcar May 10 '15 at 23:37

It is called 'muscle ache' or 'muscle soreness'.

But if you like the term 'muscle fever' why don't you just add a short explanation in a footnote or in brackets.

muscle fever (= muscle pain, often occurring after intense physical labor/exercise for anyone not used to regular physical effort)

or ask several people if they know the term. It could be a local distinction. Maybe in some areas muscle fever is the more common expression and in others it is not used at all.


The 'official' term is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Most people would just say, 'sore muscles'. So, if you just want a common term that readers will understand without footnotes or explanations, I'd go for that. There is some evidence that 'muscle fever' was some sort of fashionable idiom some years back.


I've never heard that term. I find it perplexing, as "fever" means an elevated temperature, and having experienced the phenomenon in question, it has never involved the sore tissue feeling hot. I would just use the term "soreness" myself, for the painful feeling in the days after such a workout.

It is during a workout that the muscles feel a burning sensation, referred to as "the burn", as in the expression "feel the burn". But that doesn't seem to be what you're referring to.

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    Fever got into 'muscle fever' probably due to the fact that both the fever and overworked muscles include some form of inflammation. – Lucky May 11 '15 at 2:35

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