Many walkers use a topical pain relief ointment such as Bengay or Aspercream to relieve muscle aches before and after exercise. The BBC News reports
on results of a systematic review of controlled trials of muscle relief ointments (rubefacients) containing salicylates (aspirin). The lead author, Dr. Andrew Moore, is quoted by the BBC as saying that for acute pain rather than chronic conditions, "When it comes to rubefacients, they do not work well enough to take any notice of them."
Other analgesic gels containing ibuprofen or may perform better. ""What we know does work is topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory gels like ibuprofen. There is pretty good evidence that they work well and are pretty safe," Dr. Moore said to the BBC News.
The review is listed in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, but the results have not yet been published.