Effect of Salted Ice Bags on Surface and Intramuscular Tissue Cooling and Rewarming Rates

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Context:

Many researchers have investigated the effectiveness of different cryotherapy agents at decreasing intramuscular tissue temperatures. However, no one has looked at the effectiveness of adding salt to an ice bag.

Objective:

To compare the cooling effectiveness of different ice bags (wetted, salted cubed, and salted crushed) on cutaneous and intramuscular temperatures.

Design:

Repeated-measures counterbalanced design.

Setting:

University research laboratory.

Participants:

24 healthy participants (13 men, 11 women; age 22.46 ± 2.33 y, height 173.25 ± 9.78 cm, mass 74.51 ± 17.32 kg, subcutaneous thickness 0.63 ± 0.27 cm) with no lower-leg injuries, vascular diseases, sensitivity to cold, compromised circulation, or chronic use of NSAIDs.

Interventions:

Ice bags made of wetted ice (2000 mL ice and 300 mL water), salted cubed ice (intervention A; 2000 mL of cubed ice and 1/2 tablespoon of salt), and salted crushed ice (intervention B; 2000 mL of crushed ice and 1/2 tablespoon of salt) were applied to the posterior gastrocnemius for 30 min. Each participant received all conditions with at least 4 d between treatments.

Main Outcome Measure:

Cutaneous and intramuscular (2 cm plus adipose thickness) temperatures of nondominant gastrocnemius were measured during a 10-min baseline period, a 30-min treatment period, and a 45-min rewarming period.

Results:

Differences from baseline were observed for all treatments. The wetted-ice and salted-cubed-ice bags produced significantly lower intramuscular temperatures than the salted-crushed-ice bag. Wetted-ice bags produced the greatest temperature change for cutaneous tissues.

Conclusions:

Wetted- and salted-cubed-ice bags were equally effective at decreasing intramuscular temperature at 2 cm subadipose. Clinical practicality may favor salted-ice bags over wetted-ice bags.

Hunter is with the Dept of PTOT, Idaho State University, Pocatello, ID. Ostrowski, Donahue, and Herzog are with the Dept of Athletic Training and Nutrition, Weber State University, Ogden, UT. Crowley is with Washington High School, Sioux Falls, SD.

Address author correspondence to Eric Hunter at hunteric@isu.edu.