Cold Therapy For Athletes: Benefits, Precautions, And Tips 2023

Are you an athlete, or do you have a family member or friend who’s into athletics? In most cases, you’ll find them on their feet, either training or competing. In addition, they’re likely to injure their limbs from time to time, from tissue tearing to sprains to swellings.

Since athletes must spend most of their time on their feet for training and competitions, taking too much time off for recovery is a luxury most don’t have. As a result, sports doctors have developed ways to aid in quick recovery, and these ways go beyond taking medication.

One of the usual solutions to sports injuries and issues is cold therapy, also known as cryotherapy. Cold therapy entails using low temperatures to cater to injuries.

You can use an ice pack, ice bath, cooling gel, chilled cloth, a bag of frozen vegetables, or a liquid nitrogen chamber to administer the therapy.

Your choice among the options depends on availability. However, before settling on any one of them, it’s best to research each of them.

That way, you can choose one that suits your needs and administer them appropriately. You can find a liquid nitrogen chamber or ice barrel review online.

Are you wondering whether this technique is ideal for you as an athlete? This article will assist you in deciding by giving more information about cold therapy. Read on for this insight!

To Start With, Here are the Benefits of Cryotherapy:

  • Reduces Muscle Pain

As stated earlier, athletes are either training or competing with minimal rest in between. As a result, there’s a likelihood of them developing pain in their muscles. Most of this pain arises from lactic acid accumulation in your muscles.

Adopting cold therapy after training can ease muscle pain. It’s said that the cool temperature causes blood vessels to tighten, which tends to flush away the accumulated lactic acid. With minimal to no lactic acid, your muscles will be less sore, reducing back pain.

In addition, cold therapy will numb the area experiencing pain, reducing nerve activity and relieving pain.

  • Reduces Swelling

Athletes do many activities that increase body temperature. As a result, the blood vessels expand to allow more blood to flow and heat to lose, which might cause swelling.

Blood pooling is also one of the causes of swollen feet among athletes. It’s where blood pools in your feet due to gravity when running.

Neither situation is ideal for an athlete since the result is swollen limbs that can hinder training or competitions. Administering cryotherapy is one of the solutions to swollen limbs. What will it do?

It’s believed that low temperatures will make blood vessels constrict, reducing blood flow to the swollen area. This procedure will gradually reduce the swelling, getting you back on your feet in no time.

As you look forward to enjoying the benefits of cold therapy as an athlete, it’s important to note that it will only work if you adopt it correctly. Here are tips and precautions to adopt:

The Tips

Cold Therapy
  • Administer The Procedure Immediately

Like medication, it’s always advisable to seek therapy as soon as you start experiencing the signs and symptoms of an illness.

Cryotherapy will only be effective if you administer it within 24 hours of your muscle pain or swelling; 48 hours should be the maximum period.

Suppose you fail to adhere to the timelines. The muscle pain and swelling could become extensive and hinder movement. In this situation, you’ll have no option but to visit a doctor, which might extend your recovery period.

  • Be Wary Of Time

The phrase, too much of something is poisonous, greatly applies in cold therapy. Too much of it could lead to shock or hypothermia, among other side effects. Therefore, it’s crucial to be wary of the time you expose your muscles to cold temperatures.

It’s advisable to limit cryotherapy to approximately 15 minutes. It’d help to check your skin’s appearance every five minutes as you administer cold therapy. If your skin turns purple, bright red, or pink, stop the treatment as soon as possible.

  • Adopt The Procedure Gradually

Bodies tend to take time to adjust to different conditions. Therefore, if you go all in in a new environment, your body might react adversely, causing issues. As you adopt cold therapy, it’s advisable to administer it slowly.

As a beginner, limit it to five minutes per session. And after some time, you can increase the exposure time to six minutes, and so on, until you reach the recommended maximum of 15 minutes.

Suppose you prefer an ice bath for the procedure. Consider starting with lukewarm water, upgrading to cold water, and eventually the ice bath, factoring in the time frame.

The Precautions

Cold Therapy
  • Avoid Cold Therapy If There Are Existing Health Conditions

In medicine, some solutions work best in one given body and cause adverse effects in another. The same concept applies to cold therapy. If you have some existing conditions, the procedure can worsen your health, affecting your training.

If you have heart problems, high blood pressure, and blood circulation issues, please avoid cryotherapy and seek another solution that relieves muscle aches and swelling. Remember, cold therapy constricts blood vessels and reduces blood flow.

Imagine a situation where you have heart issues and adopt an ice bath solution. With minimal blood flow, it might affect the functioning of your heart, which can lead to a heart attack and cause death.

It’s, therefore, advisable to visit your and seek permission to adopt cold therapy to manage your muscle issues. If your doctor advises otherwise, please don’t go ahead with the therapy.

  • Always Warm Up

A cold therapy session for your body is likely in a state of dormancy. It’s important to jumpstart it back to normal functioning.

The typical solution is warming up your body. As simple as it might sound, you must do it right. Jumping straight into a hot shower is no way to do it; it might cause body shock.

Instead, dress warmly, and light up your fire or candles to bring warmth to your surroundings. As a result, your body will absorb the heat gradually and return to normalcy within no time. A cup of hot tea could also help to increase blood flow within.


The discussion above has shown how beneficial cold therapy is to an athlete. It has also highlighted the best practices to adopt with the procedure for optimum results. Keep them in mind and practice them from now on to treat your muscle injury or issues.

Personal Care Truth
Personal Care Truth is your trusted source for evidence-based information on personal care and wellness. A dedicate health advocate who is passionate about empowering individuals to make informed choices when it comes to their personal care.



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