Dr. Kandil, does cryotherapy work on sore muscles and joints of young athletes?

Q: My son has D1 ambitions and trains hard at 14. He works out 3 days a week and practices his sport 5 days a week. Has 2 days where he doesn’t practice but will stretch at home. Is this over training?

Q: Dr. Kandil, does cryotherapy work on sore muscles and joints of young athletes? If so, how often should it be done?

A: Most recommendations for the use of cryotherapy are based on anecdotal experience, with limited scientific evidence to support its use. Reported benefits of cryotherapy include the promotion of local blood constriction to control swelling, as well as the reduction of pain and muscular spasm. One large study found that cryotherapy to be effective in decreasing pain in patients with recent soft tissue injuries.

Cryotherapy can be applied during and after sporting events to help speed injury recovery, and athletes may return to play after this treatment. In summary, there are benefits to cryotherapy on sore muscles and joints of young athletes, and I recommend using cryotherapy after an exercise or sporting session. To read other questions, visit Dr. Kandil’s author page. 

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