Cryotherapy is a widely used modality to treat acute skeletal muscle injury. Traditionally, cryotherapy is used immediately following an injury to accelerate the healing process by decreasing pain, inflammation and secondary hypoxic injury. Recent studies conflict with this long-standing practice and have suggested that cryotherapy may actually impair the myofiber regeneration process after muscle injury due to suppression of the inflammatory process. Therefore, delaying the healing process. A critical appraisal was conducted on three studies that have examined the inflammatory markers and markers of muscle regeneration. These studies were conducted over the past five years and have examined the effects of cryotherapy on inflammatory markers (mRNA levels of TNF-α, NF-κB, TGF-β and MMP-9), and myofiber regeneration (MyoD, IGF-1, platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), Desmin) after acute skeletal muscle injury. These studies found that cryotherapy suppressed inflammatory markers when compared to a control group. In addition, cryotherapy was found to either have no effect on myofiber regeneration or in the case of one study, it may delay skeletal muscle regeneration. In conclusion, these studies provide evidence that cryotherapy decreases the inflammation process which may lead to a delay in myofiber regeneration following skeletal muscle injury.
MacNiven, N. (2021). The effect of cryotherapy and inflammation and myofiber regeneration following skeletal muscle injury. Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.wcupa.edu/spomed_stuwork/3