Effects of whole-body cryotherapy (-110 °C) on proprioception and indices of muscle damage

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2012 Apr;22(2):190-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2011.01292.x. Epub 2011 Apr 8.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of whole-body cryotherapy (WBC) on proprioceptive function, muscle force recovery following eccentric muscle contractions and tympanic temperature (T(TY) ). Thirty-six subjects were randomly assigned to a group receiving two 3-min treatments of -110 ± 3 °C or 15 ± 3 °C. Knee joint position sense (JPS), maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) of the knee extensors, force proprioception and T(TY) were recorded before, immediately after the exposure and again 15 min later. A convenience sample of 18 subjects also underwent an eccentric exercise protocol on their contralateral left leg 24 h before exposure. MVIC (left knee), peak power output (PPO) during a repeated sprint on a cycle ergometer and muscles soreness were measured pre-, 24, 48 and 72h post-treatment. WBC reduced T(TY) , by 0.3 °C, when compared with the control group (P<0.001). However, JPS, MVIC or force proprioception was not affected. Similarly, WBC did not effect MVIC, PPO or muscle soreness following eccentric exercise. WBC, administered 24 h after eccentric exercise, is ineffective in alleviating muscle soreness or enhancing muscle force recovery. The results of this study also indicate no increased risk of proprioceptive-related injury following WBC.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Body Temperature
  • Cryotherapy* / adverse effects
  • Cryotherapy* / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction*
  • Knee Joint / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Pain Management
  • Proprioception / physiology*
  • Somatosensory Disorders / physiopathology
  • Young Adult