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Chris Ingersoll is an associate professor in the Athletic Training Department at Indiana State University.
Ken Knight is a professor and Chair of the Athletic Training Department at Indiana State University
Teddy Worrell is an assistant professor of Physical Therapy and Director of Research at the Krannert School of Physical Therapy at the University of Indianapolis in Indianapolis, IN.
Cold application is commonly used before strenuous exercise due to its hypalgesic effects. Some have questioned this procedure because of reports that cold may reduce isokinetic torque. However, there have been no investigations of actual physical performance following cold application. The purpose of this study was to determine if a 20-minute ice immersion treatment to the foot and ankle affected the performance of three agility tests: the carioca maneuver, the cocontraction test, and the shuttle run. Twenty-four male athletic subjects were tested during two different treatment sessions following an orientation session. Subjects were tested following a 20-minute 1°C ice immersion treatment to the dominant foot and ankle and 20 minutes of rest. Following each treatment, subjects performed three trials of each agility test, with 30 seconds rest between each trial, and 1 minute between each different agility test. The order in which each subject performed the agility tests was determined by a balanced Latin square. A MANOVA with repeated measures was used to determine if there was an overall significant difference in the agility times recorded between the cold and control treatments and if the order of the treatment sessions affected the scores. Although the mean agility time scores were slightly slower following the cold treatment, cooling the foot and ankle caused no difference in agility times. Also, there was no difference resulting from the treatment orders. We felt that the slightly slower scores may have been a result of tissue stiffness and/or subject's apprehension immediately following the cold treatment. Cold application to the foot and ankle can be used before strenuous exercise without altering agility.