Contrast-Bath Therapy and Sensation Over the Anterior Talofibular Ligament

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation

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Billy E. Cotts
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Kenneth L. Knight
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J. William Myrer
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Shane S. Schulthies
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Context:

It has been suggested that contrast-bath therapy alters sensation and enables patients to return to exercise more quickly.

Objective:

To determine whether contrast-bath therapy alters sensation of pressure in the ankle.

Design:

A 2 × 4 × 4 factorial design with repeated measures on 2 factors. Independent variables included gender, time (preapplication and 1, 6, and 11 min postapplication), and treatment (control, cold bath, hot bath, and contrast bath).

Setting:

Laboratory.

Participants:

12 men and 12 women, college track athletes actively engaged in preseason workouts 5-6 days/wk.

Interventions:

Sensation of pressure was tested preapplication and 1, 6, and 11 min postapplication. Each treatment lasted 20 min.

Main Outcome Measure:

Sensation of pressure at baseline and 1, 6, and 11 min postapplication over the anterior talofibular ligament of the right ankle.

Results:

There was no difference between genders. Sensation of pressure was greater for the heat condition than the other 3 conditions at 1 and 6 min postapplication. During the heating condition, sensation of pressure was greater at 1 and 6 min postapplication than during preapplication. During the contrast condition, sensation of pressure was less at 6 min postapplication than during preapplication.

Conclusion:

Contrast- and cold-bath therapy (at 13 °C) do not affect numbness.

Cotts is with the Athletic Dept, Weber State University, Ogden, UT 84408. Knight, Myrer, and Schulthies are with the Therapeutic Modality Research Laboratory, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602.

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