For decades the benefits of cold and compression have been used to aid recovery from injury and soreness from exercise. The physiology behind these modalities have been researched and the consensus is that they are effective and affordable, when compared to other forms of recovery.
Designed in the USA, the Game Ready system is the gold standard of cold compression therapy, having been utilised in Olympic training and professional sporting environments.
Here at Physio Connex, the Game Ready system is available as part of your injury rehabilitation or recovery from competition.
So how does it work and what makes it so effective?
Helps Improve Recovery Time
Our bodies response to injury or muscle soreness, that occurs with intense exercise, is to create an over-supply of oedema and inflammatory chemicals. This is why we feel so sore and stiff, making the next few days difficult to return to our normal level of activity (or walk normally!).
Applying ice AND compression therapy after an injury or a tough workout may significantly reduce the recovery time by helping prevent the build-up of swelling within our muscles. Continuing to apply therapeutic cold in combination with active compression throughout the recovery process helps contribute to faster healing and a quicker return to previous activity levels.
Reduces Length of Absences Because of Injury
In a sport and fitness setting, the biggest challenge is to keep injury-free and be as healthy as possible. Some sports injuries are unavoidable, but when they do happen, you have to be ready to start treatment from day one. Using cryotherapy has been shown to reduce swelling, pain and inflammation. This accelerates the phases of injury and reduces recovery time.
Here’s a break down of the benefits through each stage of recovery:
Acute Injury (0-4 days):
Ice therapy and low-to-moderate compression
· Improve range of motion
· Decrease pain
· Decrease pain-induced muscle weakness
· Correct gait pattern
Sub-Acute Injury (5-14 days)
Ice therapy and moderate-to-high compression
· Decrease pain
· Achieve end range of motion
· Aid proprioception / balance exercises
· Assist strengthening exercises
Ice therapy and high compression
· Reduce recurring inflammation
· Reduce scarring within muscle tissue and joints
· Aid commencement of agility and return to sport activity
What the big guns say….:
In June this year (2019), The British Journal of Sport Medicine published a Clinical Practice Guideline for the rehab of knees post ACL surgery. They detailed that early cold and compression therapy use was an integral part of the rehabilitation process, allowing for earlier pain-free ROM and mobilisation.
A Cochrane Review (2012) looked at the effectiveness of cold and compression therapy post Total knee replacement (TKR). They found that using cold post-op reduced blood loss and pain levels. Functionally, cold use improved knee range of motion in the early stages of rehab.
In a recovery setting, cold and compression have been shown to reduce muscular fatigue, delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and better well-being after exercise (Dupuy et al, 2018; Costello et al, 2015; Bleakley et al, 2012).
Leegwater et al. (2012) performed a study on patients after Total Hip Replacement surgery, looking at the effects of Game Ready use on post-operative pain, morphine usage, blood loss, wound discharge, total hospital admission time, infection rate and deep vein thrombus rates. They found that Game Ready System reduces postoperative blood loss. A trend towards less pain-relief use, shorter hospital stay, less wound discharge and less pain at 6 weeks post-operatively was also observed.
So, whether you are a seasoned athlete looking to improve your recovery or someone looking to get better quicker from an injury or surgery, Game Ready offers an effective solution.
Written by Andrew Alexander, Physiotherapist @ Physio Connex