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The effect of cryotherapy on nerve conduction velocity, pain threshold and pain tolerance
  1. Amin A Algafly
  1. Qatif Central Hospital, Saudi Arabia
    1. Keith P George ({at}
    1. Liverpool John Moores University, United Kingdom


      Objectives: To determine the impact of the application of cryotherapy upon nerve conduction velocity (NCV), pain threshold (PTH) and pain tolerance (PTO). Design: A within subject experimental design; treatment ankle (cryotherapy) and control ankle (no cryotherapy). Setting: Hospital-based physiotherapy laboratory.

      Participants: A convenience sample of adult male games players (n=23).

      Main Outcome Measures: Nerve conduction velocity of the tibial nerve via EMG as well as PTH and PTO via pressure algometer. All outcome measures were assessed at two sites served by the tibial nerve; one receiving cryotherapy and one not receiving cryotherapy.

      Results: In the control ankle NCV, PTH and PTO did not alter WHEN REASSESSED. In the ankle receiving cryotherapy NCV was significantly and progressively reduced as ankle skin temperature was reduced to 10oC by a cumulative total of 32.8% (p<0.05). Cryotherapy led to an increased PTH and PTO at both assessment sites (p<0.05). The changes in PTH (89 and 71%) and PTO (76 and 56%) were not different between the iced and non-iced sites.

      Conclusion: The data suggest that cryotherapy can increase PTH and PTO at the ankle and this was associated with a significant decrease in NCV. Reduced NCV AT THE ANKLE may be a mechanism by which cryotherapy achieves its clinical goals.

      • ice application
      • pressure algometer
      • tibial nerve

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