Effect of Cryotherapy on Lower Limb Flexibility and Power in Recreational Players: An Experimental Study
Assistant Professor, Department of Physiotherapy, Dr. D. Y. Patil College of Physiotherapy, Pune, Maharashtra, India.
Introduction: Cryotherapy has been a widely used thermotherapy modality in sports injuries. The main focus of research on cryotherapy was to find out its effects on functional performance measures of the players. Cryotherapy is known to dampen the stretch reflex and reduce muscle temperature which might indirectly influence the flexibility and power which are the important components of any performance. Hence, it becomes necessary to study the changes, if any, on the flexibility and power post cryotherapy application.
Aim: To determine the effects of cryotherapy on lower limb flexibility and power in adult recreational players.
Materials and Methods: The present study was an experimental study conducted on 40 recreational players of either gender, between the age range of 18-25 years, who played various forms of recreational sports and had hamstrings and calf muscle tightness were included in the study. Hamstring tightness was assessed by Active Knee Extension Test (AKET) and calf muscle tightness by Weight Bearing Lunge test (WBLT), while power was assessed by vertical jump test. Both the limbs were given cold pack on bilateral calf and hamstrings for 20 minutes for three days. Outcomes were measured on 3rd day and paired t-test was used to analyse the pre and post-treatment difference, p-value less than 0.05 was considered as significant.
Results: A total of 40 recreational players were included in the study with the mean age of 22.15±1.36 years, of which 20 were males and 20 were females with mean Body Mass Index (BMI) of 23.07±3.36 kg/m2 . The right calf muscle flex (pretreatment=13.7 cm to post-treatment=14.71 cm, p<0.05) along with left side flexibility (pretreatment=14.2 cm to post-treatment=15.07 cm, p<0.05). The hamstring flexibility improved significantly from mean, pretreatment=45.6 degrees to post-treatment=50.6 degrees (p<0.05) on the right side while on the left side, a non significant improvement from pretreatment=52.38 degrees to post-treatment=55.22 degrees (p=0.011) was seen. The power showed a non significant reduction from pretreatment=17.61 to post-treatment=16.76 (p=0.016).
Conclusion: Cryotherapy increases the flexibility of calf and hamstring muscles and reduces lower limb power after three days of cryotherapy application.