Cryotherapy and cold-induced vasodilation

More often than not, I write this blog while I’ve got my foot in a pot of ice water.  And, more often than not, I have to stop writing to swear under my breath for a while when it gets too painfully distracting for sentences.  Hate the icing.  Love the lack of pain afterwards.  My foot’s numb after 20 minutes and I limp around the house for a while until sensation comes roaring back.  I’d thought that icing longer than 20 minutes caused cold-induced vasodilation.  (Worried that your foot might be freezing, the blood vessels dilate to bring warmth to the area.  So, no freezing, but the increased blood flow negates the anti-inflammatory effects of the icing.  Doh!), but it seems like that’s not the case at all.  Seems like you’re safe for at least 60 minutes — and it seems like (after reading a bunch of texts on cryotherapy and sports medicine on Google Books instead of doing anything necessary today) that the success of cryotherapy for rehabilitating sports injuries has more to do with pain control than changing blood flow to the injury site.  I can’t be entirely sure about that because Google Books blocked sections of the texts — and it’s not my field.  I’ll play with the information more tonight and let you know if I can stop blogging with my foot in a pot of ice.

Asa is running around the house right now in a pair of my mother’s underwear.  The undies got hidden in some clean laundry and when Asa found them this morning he promptly pulled them on over his shorts.  I’ve been trying to get him to take them off for the last half hour so we can go the library.  He’s determined.  He’s trying to fit them under his shorts now.

Update: Here’s what I found.

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4 Responses to Cryotherapy and cold-induced vasodilation

  1. Sarah says:

    It’s funny because I often ice my foot while reading your blog. I’ve got posterior tibial tendonitis, plantar fasciaitis evil twin.

    • lizahoward says:

      I wonder how many folks are out there reading blogs while parts of their body are on ice. Funny image. Hope the tibial tendonitis isn’t slowing you down too much.

  2. kerry says:

    In your “copious spare time,” ha ha, maybe you can research contrast baths for us. I had good luck with it some years ago after spraining an ankle on the snowboard (acute injury), but it hasn’t seemed much use with my feet (more chronic). I only know about it by word of mouth, but my understanding is that you do only cold for two days after the injury, and if the swelling is sorta under control, then you alternate ice water and hot water, three or so times each, ending with cold. I thought of it because I think it is supposed to do something about changing the blood flow. The gymnast who first told me about it said it works because it “pisses off your immune system” at the injury site.

    • lizahoward says:

      I will check on the efficacy of contrast baths in “pissing off the immune system.” That’s awesome. I did some contrast baths for about a month, but gave them up because I’m too lazy to get the water heated up.

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