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Int J Sports Med. 1997 Nov;18(8):588-93.

Effect of cryotherapy on muscle soreness and strength following eccentric exercise.

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Department of Human Movement Studies, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.


The purpose of this study was to determine whether a post-exercise cryotherapy protocol could facilitate recovery of elbow flexor strength and reduce the severity of delayed onset muscle soreness following eccentric exercise. Eight resistance-trained males (23 +/- 3 yr) performed 64 eccentric elbow flexions with each arm. One arm was subjected to five, 20 minute immersions in a 5 +/- 1 degree C ice-water bath interspersed by 60 minute rest periods. The non-immersed arm served as the control. A main effect for time was observed for all dependent variables (p < 0.05). Isometric torque (mean SE) decreased from a pre-exercise value of 87.9 +/- 4.5 Nm to 65.2 +/- 4.5 Nm immediately post-exercise. Isokinetic torque at 60 and 300 degrees x s(-1) decreased from 71.0 +/- 3.5 NM and 48.4 +/- 2.8 Nm to 55.8 +/- 3.3 Nm and 39.8 +/- 3.1 Nm, respectively. All torque measures returned to pre-test levels by 72 h. Muscle soreness peaked 48 h post-exercise and was evident until 120 h. Limb volume increased by 200 +/- 18 ml immediately post-exercise (p < 0.05) but was not significantly elevated thereafter. No significant difference between the immersed and control arms were observed for any variable. The result suggest that the use of cryotherapy immediately following damaging eccentric exercise may not provide the same therapeutic benefits commonly attributed to cryotherapy following traumatic muscle injury.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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