Effect of knee joint cooling on the electromyographic activity of lower extremity muscles during a plyometric exercise

Stefan Schmid, Marilyn Moffat, Gregory M. Gutierrez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


During sporting events, injured athletes often return to competition after icing because of the reduction in pain. Although some controversy exists, several studies suggest that cryotherapy causes a decrease in muscle activity, which may lead to a higher risk of injury upon return to play. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of a 20-min knee joint cryotherapy application on the electromyographic activity of leg muscles during a single-leg drop jump in twenty healthy subjects, randomly assigned to an experimental and a control group. After the pre-tests, a crushed-ice bag was applied to the knee joint of the experimental group subjects for 20. min, while the control group subjects rested for 20. min. All subjects were retested immediately after this period and retested again after another 20. min of rest. Average electromyographic activity and ground contact time were calculated for the pre- and post-test sessions. Decreases in electromyographic activity of the lower extremity musculature were found in pre-activation, eccentric (braking), and concentric (push-off) phases immediately after the icing, and after 20. min of rest. The results lend support to the suggestion that cryotherapy during sporting events may place the individuals in a vulnerable position.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1075-1081
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Electromyography and Kinesiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010



  • Cryotherapy
  • Drop jump
  • Ice-application
  • Leg muscles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Biophysics
  • Clinical Neurology

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