Manual therapy (MT) and intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) are recovery methods used by endurance athletes with little evidence supporting effectiveness. This randomized controlled trial evaluated effectiveness of four daily post-race treatments of a specific MT protocol and IPC compared with supine rest on recovery following an ultramarathon among 56 ultramarathoners. Groups were comparable across all characteristics examined, including post-race plasma creatine kinase concentration. Subject completed timed 400 m runs before the race and on days three, five, seven and 14 post- race, and also provided muscle pain and soreness ratings and fatigue scores immediately before and after treatments, and during the 14 days post- race. Daily subjective measures and 400 m run times were not improved by either treatment, but both treatments reduced (p < .05) muscular fatigue scores acutely after treatment following the race and on post-race day 1, and MT improved (p < .05) muscle pain and soreness acutely following the race.
Keywords: Creatine kinase; massage; muscle fatigue; myalgia; running.