Decreased postural stability is a primary risk factor for lower limb musculoskeletal injuries. During athletic competitions, cryotherapy may be applied during short breaks in play or during half-time; however, its effects on postural stability remain unclear. To investigate the acute effects of a 15-minute ankle-joint cryotherapy application on dynamic postural stability. Controlled laboratory study. University biomechanics laboratory. A total of 29 elite-level collegiate male field-sport athletes (age = 20.8 ± 1.12 years, height = 1.80 ± 0.06 m, mass = 81.89 ± 8.59 kg) participated. Participants were tested on the anterior (ANT), posterolateral (PL), and posteromedial (PM) reach directions of the Star Excursion Balance Test before and after a 15-minute ankle-joint cryotherapy application. Normalized reach distances; sagittal-plane kinematics of the hip, knee, and ankle joints; and associated mean velocity of the center-of-pressure path during performance of the ANT, PL, and PM reach directions of the Star Excursion Balance Test. We observed a decrease in reach-distance scores for the ANT, PL, and PM reach directions from precryotherapy to postcryotherapy (P < .05). No differences were observed in hip-, knee-, or ankle-joint sagittal-plane kinematics (P > .05). We noted a decrease in mean velocity of the center-of-pressure path from precryotherapy to postcryotherapy (P < .05) in all reach directions. Dynamic postural stability was adversely affected immediately after cryotherapy to the ankle joint.
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