Friday, April 10, 2015



Cryokinetics is a rehabilitation tool that combines the application of cold, whether through ice packs, ice massage, or ice bucket, to numb the injured body part and then provide progressive, active exercise. Cryokinetics is the most effective form of cryotherapy for rehabilitating ligament sprains.1 Especially effective for ankle sprains, the technique can be used for any acute musculoskeletal joint injury. Cryokinetics allows rehabilitation to begin much sooner than traditional therapy, and it can shorten rehabilitation time by days or even weeks.1

Pain-Free Exercise. Pain-free exercise is the key to Cryokinetics. The purpose of cold applications is to reduce pain to make active exercise possible. Unlike local anesthetic injections or pain-numbing drugs, cold does not totally inhibit the body’s ability to sense pain. Cold relieves pain caused from damaged tissue or pressure from swelling on nerves, thereby still allowing active exercise. But if the exercise becomes so vigorous that further damage might result, the body responds with a pain sensation. Pain during numbness indicates the exercise is too intense and the activity level must be decreased.1

Step one of the application of Cryokinetics is by getting the patient mentally prepared for the cold application. An ice bucket is a simple way to apply cold to an ankle injury. One needs to explain to them  four sensations they will experience during ice immersion.1

  1. Initial intense pain
  2. Warming
  3. Ache or tingling
  4. Numbness

After immersion for 10-20 minutes, or until the patient is numb, the next step is to  begin exercising the area as long as it remains numb. Exercise first needs to start out with  range of motion activities or simple strengthening exercises. Once the area starts getting feeling back, the patient will reemerge into the ice until numbness is reached again. This process is repeated 4-5 times during the rehabilitation period. All exercises should be active, progressive, and ultimately pain free.1


1 Knight K and Draper D. Therapeutic Modalities: The Art and Science. Baltimore, MD: Lippincott, Williams, and Wilkins: 2008.

1 comment:

  1. This article really interests me because I know it is a hot topic in the sports medicine world right now. I know that they have also started so kind of cold rehab using nitrogen also that was very interesting to me. Great Article!