Jeffrey J. Ciolek, P.T., A.T., C.
Department of Physical Therapy, Section of Sports Medicine, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 9500 Euclid Ave., Cleveland OH 44106
Cryotherapy, the therapeutic use of cold in the management of injuries and painful conditions, can be a valuable technique for the medical practitioner. The physiologic effects of cold are vasoconstriction, which helps to decrease swelling and inflammation; decreased tissue hypoxia; decreased pain; and decreased muscle spasm. Integrating cold in both the acute and rehabilitation stage can promote quick and effective results. Combining cold with exercise (cryokinetics) has significant clinical implications for the treatment of many musculoskeletal problems, athletic injuries, and inflammatory conditions such as tendonitis, bursitis, and arthritis. Application of ice provides a safe, convenient, and inexpensive method of treatment for the patient, especially in the home setting.