The nervous system is known to be involved in inflammation and repair. We aimed to determine the effect of physical activity on the healing of a muscle injury and to examine the pattern of innervation. Using a drop-ball technique, a contusion was produced in the gastrocnemius in 20 rats. In ten the limb was immobilised in a plaster cast and the remaining ten had mobilisation on a running wheel. The muscle and the corresponding dorsal-root ganglia were studied by histological and immunohistochemical methods. In the mobilisation group, there was a significant reduction in lymphocytes (p = 0.016), macrophages (p = 0.008) and myotubules (p = 0.008) between three and 21 days. The formation of myotubules and the density of nerve fibres was significantly higher (both p = 0.016) compared with those in the immobilisation group at three days, while the density of CGRPpositive fibres was significantly lower (p = 0.016) after 21 days. Mobilisation after contusional injury to the muscle resulted in early and increased formation of myotubules, early nerve regeneration and progressive reduction in inflammation, suggesting that it promoted a better healing response.