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J Athl Train. 1998 Jan-Mar; 33(1): 25–29.
PMCID: PMC1320371

Temperature Changes in the Human Leg During and After Two Methods of Cryotherapy

J. William Myrer, PhD,* Gary Measom, RN, PhD, and Gilbert W. Fellingham, PhD

Abstract

Objective:

To compare the cooling and rewarming effects of two clinical 20-minute cryotherapy treatments on the temperature of the human leg.

Design and Setting:

Sixteen subjects were randomly treated with either 20 minutes of a 1.8-kg crushed-ice pack, placed directly over the left calf, or a 20-minute immersion in a cold (10°C) whirlpool. Data were collected at a university human performance research laboratory.

Subjects:

Seventeen male and 15 female healthy college students.

Measurements:

Subcutaneous and muscle tissue temperatures were measured by 26-gauge hypodermic needle microprobe inserted in the calf, just below the skin, or 1 cm below the subcutaneous fat, respectively.

Results:

There was no significant difference in the decrease in intramuscular temperatures between treatments (t (30) = -1.76, P = .09). The ice pack treatment significantly decreased the subcutaneous temperature more than the whirlpool (t (30) = -2.64, P = .01). The subcutaneous temperature rewarmed significantly more in the ice pack group (12.3 ± 3.3°C) than the cold whirlpool (7.4 ± 2.1°C) (t (30) = 4.98, P = .0000). The ice pack group's intramuscular temperature increased over each 5-minute interval of the 30-minute post-treatment period for an overall increase of 2.0 ± 3.1°C. During the 30-minute post- treatment the cold whirlpool group continued to cool, for an overall decrease of 1.8 ± 1.4°C. This difference between groups at the end of the 30-minute post-treatment was significant (t(30) = 4.44, P = .0001).

Conclusions:

As administered in our protocol, cold whirlpool is superior to crushed-ice packs in maintaining prolonged significant temperature reduction after treatment.

Full text

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
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  • Merrick MA, Knight KL, Ingersoll CD, Potteiger JA. The effects of ice and compression wraps on intramuscular temperatures at various depths. J Athl Train. 1993 Fall;28(3):236–245. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Myrer JW, Draper DO, Durrant E. Contrast therapy and intramuscular temperature in the human leg. J Athl Train. 1994 Dec;29(4):318–322. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
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