Exposure of the human body to cold is perceived as a stressor and results in a sympathetic response geared at maintaining core temperature. Application of ice to the periphery may lead to a decrease in core temperature, which may counteract the therapeutic effects of cryotherapy.To determine if core temperature is lowered by the application of an ice bag to the ankle joint complex.
A within-subjects, repeated-measures design.
The University of Virginia General Clinical Research Center.
Twenty-three healthy adults aged 19 to 39 years.
Subjects were admitted to the hospital on 2 separate occasions. During one admission, subjects had a 20-minute ice treatment applied to their ankles; in the other admission, a bag of marbles was applied. Temperature measurements were recorded at 6 time intervals: baseline (before ice application), immediately after ice application, 10 and 20 minutes after ice application, and 10 and 20 minutes after ice removal.
We measured core temperature and ankle and soleus muscle surface temperatures. A mixed-effects model analysis of variance with repeated measures was used to determine if differences existed in core temperature and ankle and soleus surface temperatures between conditions (cryotherapy and control) and over time.
Core temperature did not change after ice application or ice removal (P > 0.05). The average core temperatures during the cryotherapy and control conditions were 36.72 degrees C +/- 0.42 degrees C and 36.45 degrees C +/- 1.23 degrees C, respectively.
A 20-minute cryotherapy treatment applied to the ankle did not alter core temperature.