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THE EFFECT OF CRYOTHERAPY APPLICATION TO THE ANKLE JOINT ON DYNAMIC POSTURAL STABILITY IN AN ELITE ATHLETIC POPULATION
  1. K Fullam1,
  2. B Caulfield1,
  3. GF Coughlan2,
  4. E Delahunt1,3
  1. 1School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Population Science, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  2. 2Irish Rugby Football Union, Dublin, Ireland
  3. 3Institute for Sport and Health, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland

Abstract

Background Decreased postural stability is a primary risk factor for lower limb musculoskeletal injuries. During athletic competitions, cryotherapy may be applied during short breaks in play or during half-time; however its effects on postural stability remain unclear.

Objective To investigate the acute effects of a 15-minute ankle joint cryotherapy application on dynamic postural stability.

Design Experimental study.

Setting University biomechanics laboratory.

Participants 29 elite level collegiate male field-sport athletes.

Interventions Participants were tested on the anterior (ANT), posterior-lateral (PL) and posterior-medial (PM) reach directions of the Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT) both pre- and post- a 15-minute ankle joint cryotherapy application.

Main outcome measurements Normalized reach distances, along with sagittal plane kinematics of the hip, knee and ankle joints, as well as associated MVELO and AREAsw of the center-of-pressure (COP) path during the performance of the ANT, PL and PM reach directions of the SEBT.

Results There was a statistically significant decrease in ANT, PL and PM reach direction reach distance scores from pre-cryotherapy to post-cryotherapy (P≤.05). No significant differences were observed in hip, knee or ankle joint sagittal plane kinematics (P≥.05). There was a significant decrease in MVELO of the COP path from pre-cryotherapy to post-cryotherapy (P≤.05) in all reach directions (P≤.05). AREAsw of the COP path was significantly decreased from pre-cryotherapy to post-cryotherapy in the ANT and PM reach directions (P≥.05).

Conclusions The results of the present study indicate that dynamic postural stability is adversely affected immediately following cryotherapy application to the ankle joint.

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