Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Study Spotlight: The Effects of Cryotherapy vs. Cryostretching on Hamstring Injury

Hamstring injuries are tough to deal with and the rehab process can be very frustrating.  Anytime an intervention appears to have a positive effect on the rehabilitation outcome it is worth taking a look at and seeing if there are any areas you could apply it to your treatment and rehabilitation plan.  

What They Did: 

Researchers randomly assigned 37 elite athletes with an acute grade I or II hamstring strain to either a cryotherapy group or a cryostretching group.  Each group received 5 sessions of supervised treatment pulse home-based intervention.

What They Found:
The objectives that the researchers looked at with the treatments were changes in pain, active and passive knee extension range of motion, along with functional status.  What the researchers found was that compared to cryotherapy, cryostretching (cryotherapy followed by stretching) resulted in larger improvement of function and passive knee extension range of motion.  They also found that active knee extension and pain severity were not significantly different between the two groups.

What It All Means:
Before we get into our personal take on everything this study does show that adding some stretching into the rehab protocol can help improve functional outcomes and passive knee range of motion.

We agree with adding some stretching into the rehab protocol when it comes to hamstring injury is a good idea but the hard part is trying to figure out when to add it in.  We generally don't agree with adding cryotherapy to the injury process, outside of some contusion injuries, as we can't figure out when and how it makes a big difference when it comes to aiding the healing process.  Movement we believe is key to start off the rehabilitation process.  You need movement that is pain free but this helps you jump start your bodies process of healing.

There aren't a lot of limitations with this one because it is a direct comparison of two interventions.  Really the biggest things figuring out where this fits in your treatment and rehabilitation plan.  Again we think movement is key early and often and figuring out where to add stretching in.

Resource: Sefidashti, L.  The effects of cryotherapy vs cryostretching on clinical and functional outcomes in athletes with acute hamstring strain. Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies.

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