Cryotherapy for acute ankle sprains: a randomised controlled study of two different icing protocols.

C M Bleakley, S M McDonough, D C MacAuley, J Bjordal

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BACKGROUND: The use of cryotherapy in the management of acute soft tissue injury is largely based on anecdotal evidence. Preliminary evidence suggests that intermittent cryotherapy applications are most effective at reducing tissue temperature to optimal therapeutic levels. However, its efficacy in treating injured human subjects is not yet known. OBJECTIVE: To compare the efficacy of an intermittent cryotherapy treatment protocol with a standard cryotherapy treatment protocol in the management of acute ankle sprains. SUBJECTS: Sportsmen (n = 44) and members of the general public (n = 45) with mild/moderate acute ankle sprains. METHODS: Subjects were randomly allocated, under strictly controlled double blind conditions, to one of two treatment groups: standard ice application (n = 46) or intermittent ice application (n = 43). The mode of cryotherapy was standardised across groups and consisted of melting iced water (0 degrees C) in a standardised pack. Function, pain, and swelling were recorded at baseline and one, two, three, four, and six weeks after injury. RESULTS: Subjects treated with the intermittent protocol had significantly (p
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)700-705; discussion 705
JournalBritish Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2006


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