Lower Leg Cold Immersion Does Not Impair Dynamic Stability in Healthy Women

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Context:

Previous studies have suggested that cryotherapy affects neuromuscu-lar function and therefore might impair dynamic stability. If cryotherapy affects dynamic stability, clinicians might alter their decisions regarding returning athletes to play immediately after treatment.

Objective:

To assess the effects of lower leg cold immersion on muscle activity and dynamic stability of the lower extremity.

Design:

Within-subject time-series design with 1 pretest and 2 posttests.

Setting:

A climate-controlled biomechanics laboratory.

Participants:

17 healthy women.

Interventions:

20-minute cold-water immersion.

Main Outcome Measures:

Preparatory and reactive electromyographic activity of the tibialis anterior and peroneus longus and time to stabilization after a jump landing.

Results:

Preparatory activity of the tibialis anterior increased after treatment, whereas preparatory and reactive peroneus longus activity decreased. Both returned to baseline after a 5-minute recovery. Time to stabilization did not change.

Conclusions:

Lower leg cold-immersion therapy does not impair dynamic stability in healthy women during a jump-landing task. Return to participation after a cryotherapy treatment is not contraindicated for healthy athletes.

Miniello is with the Athletic Dept, Methodist College, Fayetteville, NC 28311. Dover, Tillman, and Wikstrom are with the Dept of Applied Physiology and Kinesiology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-8205. Powers is with the Division of Athletic Training, Shenandoah University, Winchester, VA 22601.