Proceedings of The Physiological Society

Future Physiology (Leeds, UK) (2017) Proc Physiol Soc 39, C01

Oral Communications

Impact of local ice cooling of arm on recovery from maximal voluntary eccentric exercise-induced increased perceived muscle soreness among young healthy males

A. I. ALIYU1,2, G. Daysal1, O. Alalade1

1. school of Life sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom. 2. Human Physiology, Gombe state University, Gombe, Gombe, Nigeria.


High intensity eccentric exercise is associated with loss of muscle functions like isometric strength and development of muscle soreness which could last up to 2 weeks. This results in reduced performance and discomfort that eventually affects the individual`s success within that period. Hence there is need to identify ways of improving recovery from these dysfunctional consequences. One method commonly applied in practice is cryotherapy (cold application) whose physiological role has not been clearly demonstrated. The aim of this study was to determine if 140 repetitions of maximal voluntary eccentric exercise (MVEE) of the elbow flexors could cause development of muscle soreness. It was also to determine if local arm cooling following MVEE could enhance recovery from the increased perceived muscle soreness. Study was a randomized controlled trial with intention to treat involving 16 healthy male volunteers who performed 140 repetitions of MVEE and then received either water at room temperature for control (n=8) or ice treatment for 30 minutes (n=8) immediately after the exercise following approval of ethical committee of the university of Nottingham. Treatments of ice and water at room temperature were then given at 24hr,48hr, 72hr, 1 week and 2 weeks after the MVEE. Perceived muscle soreness was assessed using visual analog scale at 24hr, 48, and 72hr and 1 and 2 weeks following MVEE and compared to pre-exercise values. Changes in perceived muscle soreness over time were compared by two-way repeated-measures ANOVA to examine the effect of treatment on the measures. A total of 140 repetitions of MVEE resulted in significant increase in perceived muscle soreness (p<0.001) compared to baseline values at 24, 48 and 72 hr following the eccentric exercise in both treatment groups. However, no treatment effect was observed between the groups (p>0.05). By 1 week following eccentric exercise, a full recovery of perceived muscle soreness was seen and no treatment effect observed. This study has shown that 7 sets of 20 maximal voluntary eccentric contractions of the elbow flexors was adequate to induce increase in perceived muscle soreness up to 72hr after the exercise with full recovery observed 1 week later. Local arm cooling for 30 minutes immediately after MVEE, at 24hr, 48hr, 72hr, 1 week and 2 weeks was not effective in reducing muscle soreness. This means that there is no sufficient eveidence to confirm the physiological significance of using local ice application in improving recovery from muscle dysfunction caused by high load eccentric exercises. There may be need to for more studies to look at this on larger scale.

Where applicable, experiments conform with Society ethical requirements