Cryotherapy Effects, Part 2: Time to Numbness Onset and Numbness Duration

in International Journal of Athletic Therapy and Training
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Recommended treatment duration for cryotherapy varies, but the primary therapeutic benefit may be related to the amount of time required for changes in cutaneous sensation.


To determine the amount of time required to induce numbness for three different modes of cryotherapy administration, and the amount of time that numbness persists after treatment.


Repeated measures.


30 healthy adults (12 males, 18 females, age = 21.1 ± 1.9 years).


Crushed ice bag, ice massage, and cold water immersion.

Main Outcome Measures:

Time required to induce numbness and the amount of time numbness remained after removal of each mode of cryotherapy.


Ice massage and cold water immersion produced numbness significantly faster than the crushed ice. There were no significant differences in terms of numbness duration.


Changes in cutaneous sensation can be achieved in a relatively short amount of time (6–12 minutes) with ice massage and cold water immersion. The duration of the treatment effect did not differ among the three modes of cryotherapy administration.

Jenna K. Cataldi is a head athletic trainer, Huguenot High School, Bon Secours Richmond Health System in Richmond, VA.

Kimberly A. Pritchard is an assistant professor, Division of Athletic Training at Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA.

Joseph M. Hart is an assistant professor, Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA.

Susan A. Saliba is an associate professor, Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA.