Icebaths, Are They Worth It?

author : AMSSM
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Many a runner dreads the end of a run. Not that it won’t be there again, but because of the chill of the recovery icebath. Evidence does show benefit, but is it worth the price?


The hope of the recovery icebath is that it reduces the amount of inflammation caused by the workout and helps to flush the legs of lactic acid. Together, these actions do lead to a decrease in DOMS—delayed onset muscle soreness. It also diminishes stiffness and pain.


Ice will however, diminish a joint’s proprioception or position sense, and impair motor function. There are risks too—frostbite is not fun! If used, icebaths must be used at the right time and in the right way.


Icing should always be done after activity. Some like ice bags over injury sites, while others choose ice massage. Icebaths tend to be used for the lower body, sometimes from the knees down, or sometimes from the hips down. Most recommend spending around 10 minutes in an icebath depending on the temperatures. Another alternative is a “contrast shower” in which hot and cold water alternate a minute at a time.

 

Establishing a routine for icebath use will help gauge recovery from difficult runs as well as allow for more training runs and hopefully less injury.

Dawn Mattern MD
Sports Medicine
Trinity Medical Group
Minot, ND

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date: November 20, 2006

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AMSSM

The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) was formed in 1991 to fill a void that has existed in sports medicine from its earliest beginnings. The founders most recognized and expert sports medicine specialists realized that while there are several physician organizations which support sports medicine, there has not been a forum specific for primary care non-surgical sports medicine physicians.

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avatarAMSSM

The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) was formed in 1991 to fill a void that has existed in sports medicine from its earliest beginnings. The founders most recognized and expert sports medicine specialists realized that while there are several physician organizations which support sports medicine, there has not been a forum specific for primary care non-surgical sports medicine physicians.

FIND A SPORTS MEDICINE DOCTOR

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