Cryotherapy – every runners best friend?

Did you know that statistically 65-80% of runners experience an injury each year?  Those odds are not great to say the least and as any runner will tell you, not running because you choose not to is fine but not being able to run because of injury is extremely frustrating.

Running can cause stress to joints and muscles due to repetitive motion and impact.  As a result, many of the most common running injuries are over-use injuries causing inflammation of things like the knees, hips, feet, patella tendons, iliotibial bands and more.  Once inflammation gets to these areas running becomes more difficult and painful.  You may be able to power through workouts for a period of days or weeks but before long you’ll find yourself injured and unable to run.  I’ve gone through this within the last year and found myself even feeling jealous of anyone I saw running.  Thankfully there is help!

Due to the inflammatory nature of so many of the most common running injuries, cryotherapy is a powerful tool for healing and preventing injuries.  It is very common for runners to use ice but what I’m talking about is whole body cryotherapy and far more powerful.  Whole body cryotherapy is a brief (3 minute) but comfortable exposure to extreme cold (about -260 Fahrenheit) that causes potent physiological reactions within your body.  Most import to runners is the instant release of anti-inflammatory proteins that target muscles and joints.   This will help resolve current injuries, prevent new ones, improve recovery time and have you running on legs that feel fresher and lighter.

I am currently training for the Leadville 100 and cryotherapy has been a life saver.  When I do at least 1 cryotherapy session a week all of my runs for the next week are easier and more enjoyable, and I hardly get sore even after my most challenging workouts.  In the few instances that I have missed my cryotherapy treatment for the week my body has felt sluggish, legs heavy and I have noticed a decrease in my performance as I’ve run.

As a runner and doctor, I believe strongly that whole body cryotherapy is an absolute must for anyone who enjoys running and wants to help heal and prevent many of the injuries that often go along with it.

– Dr. Kenney

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