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Background: Cryotherapy, used commonly in the treatment of acute soft tissue injuries, can be administered using a variety of different modalities. However, the efficacy of these different modalities has not been studied well.

Research question/s: What is the effect of application of four different cryotherapy modalities on skin surface temperature?

Methodology:Subjects: 50 females (20–23 yrs; 20.6±0.8 yrs) (right anterior thigh skinfold <40 mm).

Experimental procedure: In a randomised fashion, four cryotherapy modalities (ice pack (IP), gel pack (GP), frozen peas (FP), mixture of water and 70% alcohol (WA)) were enclosed in a similar sized plastic bag and frozen at −20°C in a home freezer for at least 2 hrs before application. Modalities were applied to the skin, wrapped in a 100% cotton towel that had been soaked in water at room temperature (25°C) and wrung out. Application was over the right quadriceps femoris muscle in each subject.

Measures of outcome: Skin surface temperature (every minute for 20 minutes during application, and then for 20 minutes after application was removed).

Main finding/s::

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There was a significantly lower skin temperature throughout the 20 minutes of cryotherapy application, in the IP and WA conditions compared with the other two conditions (p<0.001).

Conclusion/s: The application of an ice pack or a mixture of water and alcohol reduced skin surface temperature significantly more than the application of a gel pack or a pack of frozen …

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