Wrist sprains are not only painful, they can be extremely inconvenient because we use our hands and wrists so much for daily activities and work. For athletes, a wrist sprain can be even more devastating, which is why it is so important to heal as quickly as possible from this unfortunate injury.
As new technologies are developed to make cryotherapy more effective, the efficacy of ice water baths and ice packs is sometimes called into question.
Is Ice Water Therapy Effective for Workout Recovery?The short answer is yes, ice water therapy is effective, but only to a point. There are two major drawbacks to using only ice water for workout recovery:
- Temperature control - When an ice pack is placed on a particular area, heat is drawn away from the body, producing the desired cooling effect. However, as heat is transferred from the body to the ice pack, the temperature of the ice pack is reduced, causing the therapy to become less effective over time. The same is true in an ice bath.
Another problem related to temperature control is the possibility that the ice bath will be too cold, potentially damaging healthy tissue and skin.
- Pressure control - Cryotherapy works best in combination with rest and compression. Rest is up to the athlete, but effective compression requires a level of pressure that ice water therapy alone does not provide.
Cold Compression Therapy: A Better SolutionNew technologies have been developed to help overcome the two primary challenges of ice water therapy. The combination of cold therapy with active compression does more than just reduce pain and swelling. It can also speed up workout recovery and stimulate tissue repair. A system that regulates cold temperatures to provide a consistent cooling effect can both improve the therapeutic effect and prevent tissue damage. Active compression does more than just reduce swelling , it also increases blood flow and promotes healing.
Game Ready has developed its own patented system to provide simultaneous cold therapy and active compression for workout recovery, surgery recovery, and below-the-knee amputees. Each wrap features ACCEL (active compression and cold exchange loop) technology to provide consistent cooling along with a natural pumping effect that helps reduce swelling and brings nutrient-rich blood to muscles and other tissues.
For athletes who take workout recovery seriously, ice water therapy simply is not enough. The combination of active cold and compression helps speed up recovery, allowing you to improve performance more quickly without the risk of tissue damage. Talk to your trainer or physician about getting a Game Ready system as part of your workout recovery strategy, or contact us directly to learn more.
What do you currently do for workout recovery? Is it enough?
Insider Tips to Workout RecoveryAnybody can use the same tips and tricks that Olympians use to speed up workout recovery:
- Rest - As tempting as it might be to push harder and harder, rest is an important part of building strength and endurance. The best athletes build periods of rest into their workout schedule to ensure that their bodies have time to repair damaged tissue and recover from fatigue.
- Nutrition - What you put in your body will inform what you can get our of your body. Maintaining a regular, nutritious diet will contribute to faster recovery from workouts. Refueling within 30 minutes after a workout will also help you replenish muscle glycogen more quickly.
- Sleep - This is different from rest. While you are sleeping, your body is actively repairing itself. Be sure to get plenty of sleep each night to ensure the speediest recovery.
- Hydrate - Stay hydrated during workouts to ensure faster recovery later. For more intense workouts, add an electrolyte to water so your body will retain more fluid. Be sure to drink plenty of water after a workout, too.
- Massage - Increase blood flow and bring more vital nutrients to recovering tissues and flush away toxins with massage.
- Cryotherapy - Cold temperatures help reduce inflammation and pain, allowing muscles and other tissues to repair themselves more quickly.
Although icing muscles and joints can be effective, there are drawbacks to this method. The heat from your body quickly warms up the ice, so the cooling effect does not last long unless it is regularly replenished. On the other hand, ice can be too cold to apply directly to the surface of the skin, so controlling the temperature is challenging without specialized equipment.
A cold compression wrap that regulates temperature and pressure is an excellent way to get the benefits of cryotherapy without the risk of tissue damage. Using Game Ready to support workout recovery can help athletes improve more quickly and perform at the highest level more consistently. If you would like to learn more about getting a Game Ready system, contact us today.
How much better do you perform when you focus on workout recovery?