Hot & Cold Therapy (Cryotherapy)

Cryotherapy is the application of ice or cold packs for therapeutic effect. We explain when to use hot and when to use cold, cryokinetics, cryostretching, contraindications and the effects of cold therapy.

The PRICE principles are the gold standard set for treating acute sports injuries. The acronym stands for Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.

There are numerous methods which can be used to apply different forms of cold therapy. Which one to use will depend on the body part to be cooled and the type of injury present.

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.

Cryostretching is a technique combining cold therapy or cryotherapy and stretching. Application of a cold pack is used to reduce muscle spasms and so increase flexibility.

A contraindication to cold therapy is an injury or condition that would make applying cold therapy to a sports injury dangerous.

Cold therapy or cryotherapy has a number of effects on the body both immediately after injury and later in the rehabilitation process.

There is often confusion following an injury concerning whether to apply cold therapy or whether to warm the area. The answer depends on the type of injury you have sustained.

Heat treatment is used as a therapy for many sports related musculoskeletal injuries. There are many forms of heat treatment, with the most effective often depending on the injury in question. Time scale is also an important factor when deciding whether to use heat therapy.