Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Study Spotlight: Cryotherapy on 3D Ankle Kinematics During Cutting

By: Joel Luedke

We have thoroughly challenged the idea of icing all your aches, pains and injuries and have really asked if it is truly the best way to treat those conditions (see links below).  That being said we never want to stop looking into ways to prove ourselves wrong and then we stumbled upon this article.  It's 14 years old but anytime we can find something that make us challenge what we are doing we think it is worth checking out.  See how icing can affect the ankles motion in a cutting movement.

What They Did: 

Researchers took 21 healthy subjects and had them perform a 45deg sidestep cut prior to and after
limb cooling for 10 minutes.  They used biomechanics analysis to look at the kinematics of the ankle joint and if the displacements and velocities would be affected at all by the cooling.

What They Found:
Results showed that there was no statistical difference between the PRE and POST icing conditions when it came to the displacements and velocities of the ankle joint during a 45deg sidestep cut.

What It All Means:
The researchers used a 10 minute cooling period to mimic what could potentially happen in sport if someone were to suffer an ankle injury and want to ice it at half time.  Based on the outcomes of this study it would show that there would be in theory no changes to how the ankle moved coming back after that cooling period and returning to the game if you were able to with the injury.  This does give some evidence to that being a good case scenario if you choose to use ice as your treatment modality.

They did not look at the effects of cooling for longer periods of time and if that would cause any different effects when it came to movement nor did they look at any of the movements of the rest of the leg during the cut (while not directly affecting the hip due to icing the ankle the general movement potentially could play a role).

This lends back to what I have said for quite sometime with the athletes I work with.  If you believe that ice helps and can get you back to where you want to be, by all means put a bag of ice on it.  If you are unsure if it helps or just do it out of routine, is there a 'better' way we could approach the injury and what we could do during that halftime period to help maximize your results.  I generally choose to go to the later and encourage as much pain free movement as possible in order to keep blood flow high through the ankle and limit the amount of potentially 'damage' that could occur by potential swelling.

In the end, know what works for you and have you purpose when it comes to the treatment and recovery modalities that you choose, it'll serve you better in the long run.

The greatest limitations the researchers noted was not doing biomechanics analysis of the whole leg during the cutting movement and not standardizing shoes (expenses) and having the cut performed barefoot.  By doing it barefoot that would have messed with some of the kinematics as it isn't the most natural way to do the movement when it comes to sport.

Source: Atnip, B. The Effect of Cryotherapy on Three Dimensional Ankle Kinematics during a Sidestep Cutting Maneuver.  Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2004) 3, 83-90.

TAT Resources:
LINK: Can I get a bag of ice? Can you tell me why?
LINK: Study Spotlight: Is Ice Right?
LINK: Inflammation and Swelling, More to the Story
LINK: Gary Reinl-The Anti Ice Guy

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