Cryokinetics is a rehabilitation technique involving ice application followed by progressive active exercises. It has been shown to be very sucessful in treating ligament sprains.
What is cryokinetics?
Cryokinetics basically allows exercise which is pain-free, relatively soon after the injury. The anaesthesia (numbness) arising from ice application does not remove pain sensing mechanisms, it only removes the current pain (from tissue damage). Due to this, if active exercises are too vigorous pain will still occur.
Cold should be applied for a maximum of twenty minutes which should be sufficient to produce the numbed response which is required. The process can be repeated for 5 minutes to 're-numb' the area if necessary.
The exercises performed during cryokinetics are active (the patient performs them independantly) and should be gradually increased in intensity providing they remain pain free.
The key to the success of cryokinetics appears to be progressing as quickly as possible from one exercise to the other. Unlike conventional rehabilitation programs where a certain number of reps must be completed, if the athlete can perform the exercise, smoothy and pain free then they can progress.
Why are cryokinetics so beneficial?
- Exercise increases blood flow to the injured area, vital in healing (after bleeding has stopped)
- Exercise re-establishes neuromuscular function
- Exercise is possible much earlier than normal
- Muscular atrophy is not allowed time to set in
- Swelling in reduced dramatically through the combination of cooling and exercise