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Revista Brasileira de Medicina do Esporte
On-line version ISSN 1806-9940
MATHEUS, João Paulo Chieregato et al. Biomechanical analysis of the cryotherapy effects in the treatment of acute muscular injury. Rev Bras Med Esporte [online]. 2008, vol.14, n.4, pp. 372-375. ISSN 1806-9940. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1517-86922008000400010.
Cryotherapy is widespread used in the acute treatment of muscle injuries of professional and unprofessional athletes. The purpose of this study was the investigation of mechanical properties of gastrocnemius muscle submitted to a impact mechanism of injury and treated with cryoterapy. Therefore, twenty four female Wistar rats were divided into three groups: Control (C): animals housed in standard cages for six days; Lesion (L): animals submitted to a direct impact mechanism of injury in the gastrocnemius muscle, without any treatment and kept into standard cages during six days; Lesion e cryotherapy (LC): animals submitted to the contusion, treated with a single session of cryotherapy immediately after lesion and housed in standard cages during six days. After those protocols, the rats were killed and their right gastrocnemius muscle were dissected and submitted to a mechanical test of traction in a universal assays machine (EMIC®). From the load versus elongation curves, the following mechanical properties were obtained: Maximum limit load (MLL), maximum limit elongation (MLE) and stiffness (St). There was a statistically difference between all groups in MLL and St. However, in the MLE there was statistically difference only between groups C and L (p<0,05). The results showed that the muscle contusion without treatment led to exasperation of all analyzed mechanical properties. Conversely, cryotherapy improved the muscle properties, although they had not reached the control group values. It can be concluded that the cryotherapy applied immediately after muscle contusion improved the muscle mechanical properties.
Keywords : soft tissue injuries; muscles; skeletal; cryotherapy; rats.