Ice-water immersion and delayed-onset muscle soreness: a randomised controlled trial

Sellwood, Kylie Louise, Brukner, Peter, Williams, David, Nicol, Alastair and Hinman, Rana (2007) Ice-water immersion and delayed-onset muscle soreness: a randomised controlled trial. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 41 6: 392-397. doi:10.1136/bjsm.2006.033985

Author Sellwood, Kylie Louise
Brukner, Peter
Williams, David
Nicol, Alastair
Hinman, Rana
Title Ice-water immersion and delayed-onset muscle soreness: a randomised controlled trial
Journal name British Journal of Sports Medicine   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1473-0480
Publication date 2007-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1136/bjsm.2006.033985
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 41
Issue 6
Start page 392
End page 397
Total pages 6
Place of publication London
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Language eng
Subject 110604 Sports Medicine
Abstract Objective: To determine if ice-water immersion after eccentric quadriceps exercise minimises the symptoms of delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Design: A prospective randomised double-blind controlled trial was undertaken. 40 untrained volunteers performed an eccentric loading protocol with their non-dominant leg. Interventions: Participants were randomised to three 1-min immersions in either ice water (5±1°C) or tepid water (24°C). Main outcome measures: Pain and tenderness (visual analogue scale), swelling (thigh circumference), function (one-legged hop for distance), maximal isometric strength and serum creatine kinase (CK) recorded at baseline, 24, 48 and 72 h after exercise. Changes in outcome measures over time were compared to determine the effect of group allocation using independent t tests or Mann–Whitney U tests. Results: No significant differences were observed between groups with regard to changes in most pain parameters, tenderness, isometric strength, swelling, hop-for-distance or serum CK over time. There was a significant difference in pain on sit-to-stand at 24 h, with the intervention group demonstrating a greater increase in pain than the control group (median change 8.0 vs 2.0 mm, respectively, p = 0.009). Conclusions: The protocol of ice-water immersion used in this study was ineffectual in minimising markers of DOMS in untrained individuals. This study challenges the wide use of this intervention as a recovery strategy by athletes.
Keyword CK
Creatine kinase
Delayed-onset muscle soreness
Visual analogue scale
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences Publications
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Created: Tue, 07 Apr 2009, 01:23:50 EST by Ms Karen Naughton on behalf of School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences