• Muscle reaction time during a simulated lateral ankle sprain after wet-ice application or cold-water immersion

      Thain, Peter K.; Bleakley, Christopher M.; Mitchell, Andrew C.S.; University of Hertfordshire; Ulster University; University of Bedfordshire (NATL ATHLETIC TRAINERS ASSOC INC, 2015-07-01)
      Context: Cryotherapy is used widely in sport and exercise medicine to manage acute injuries and facilitate rehabilitation. The analgesic effects of cryotherapy are well established; however, a potential caveat is that cooling tissue negatively affects neuromuscular control through delayed muscle reaction time. This topic is important to investigate because athletes often return to exercise, rehabilitation, or competitive activity immediately or shortly after cryotherapy.Objective: To compare the effects of wet-ice application, cold-water immersion, and an untreated control condition on peroneus longus and tibialis anterior muscle reaction time during a simulated lateral ankle sprain.Design: Randomized controlled clinical trial.Setting: University of Hertfordshire human performance laboratory.Patients or Other Participants: A total of 54 physically active individuals (age = 20.1 +/- 1.5 years, height = 1.7 +/- 0.07 m, mass = 66.7 +/- 5.4 kg) who had no injury or history of ankle sprain.Intervention(s): Wet-ice application, cold-water immersion, or an untreated control condition applied to the ankle for 10 minutes.Main Outcome Measure(s): Muscle reaction time and muscle amplitude of the peroneus longus and tibialis anterior in response to a simulated lateral ankle sprain were calculated. The ankle-sprain simulation incorporated a combined inversion and plantar-flexion movement.Results: We observed no change in muscle reaction time or muscle amplitude after cryotherapy for either the peroneus longus or tibialis anterior (P < .05).Conclusions: Ten minutes of joint cooling did not adversely affect muscle reaction time or muscle amplitude in response to a simulated lateral ankle sprain. These findings suggested that athletes can safely return to sporting activity immediately after icing. Further evidence showed that ice can be applied before ankle rehabilitation without adversely affecting dynamic neuromuscular control. Investigation in patients with acute ankle sprains is warranted to assess the clinical applicability of these interventions.