Compression therapy is a widely used technique for the treatment of muscle and other soft tissue injuries. Scientific research has indicated that external compression in the form of intermittent pneumatic compression technology can minimise swelling, improve alignment and mobility of scar tissue, improve proprioception in an injured joint and decrease the chance of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
At Cryozone Health, our Optima Sport Recovery Boots use compressed air to massage the legs and remove fluid and waste products from the tissue. From athletes looking to improve performance and recovery time to chefs who stand on their feet all day, regular 30 minute treatments in our relaxing recovery boots area have proven extremely effective for our customers.
The kneading and stretching of the muscles caused by the system augments venous and arterial blood flow via the periodic inflation of cuffs in the boots, helping to reduce injury risk and DOMS, as well as swelling caused by injury or bad circulation. Covering the entire leg, the boots have 4,6 or 8 overlapping zones to ensure you receive a full massage without overlap. Each zone can be turned on and off to treat particularly sore places or avoid those places you do not want to have massaged.
In this blog, we discuss just a few of the ways in which the boots can help you: from injury prevention and sports performance to osteoarthritis in the knee, this therapy has been proven to have great results.
Recovery boots and Sports Performance
When we exercise, the fibres in our muscles tear as a result of the stress we put on them. This is a necessary step to improvements in muscle strength and size, but initially the muscles become inflamed and accumulate metabolic waste in the form of lactate, pyruvate, ammonia, bicarbonate and pH. The inflammation and stress causes soreness and reduced muscle strength, and we develop DOMS.
For athletes, the ability to recover quickly from training sessions or an event is extremely important in order to continue to train at a higher level. To prevent injury, top athletes include regular recovery periods in their training schedules and by using recovery boots in a daily workout, the recovery process that the body’s lymphatic and vascular systems perform naturally over a longer period of time is shortened, meaning that training can resume at a higher level more quickly following exercise.
Users of our Optima Sport recovery boots comment that their muscles are less sore, fresher, looser and less fatigued, meaning that they can get the most out of their training. The ability to recover faster after a training session can help maintain and increase exercise volume and intensity, which can ultimately improve performance.
Gregg Jones, Sports Therapist in professional football recommends the use of our recovery boots to his football players: “It gets the blood flowing and the lactic acid out of the legs as an additional treatment post workout. It targets muscles and helps to keep muscle tone when injured, whilst also avoiding the injured area if necessary. It also helps during the acute stage of rehabilitation after injury.”
Recovery Boots and Injury Recovery
With increasingly demanding training schedules, there can be many reasons that injuries occur, with technique, lack of recovery and excessive training being some of the most common. Strenuous physical exercise can induce damage and injury to muscle tissue that leads to soreness, a decreased range of motion, swelling, pain, and impaired functional capacity. Injuries such as an inflamed Achilles tendon, shin splints and runner’s knee are commonly experienced by athletes.
The demand for oxygen in injured tissue is high, so in order for the cells to repair and multiply, an oxygen rich blood supply is crucial. Active compression improves oxygenation by increasing blood flow and therefore the amount of oxygen that is delivered to an injured area, as well as reducing inflammation and muscle micro-trauma. Fatigue is reduced and a faster recovery results.
Our recovery boots also actively pump away the excess fluid that builds up around an injury, reducing swelling in the area and therefore increasing the range of motion of an injured joint. The pneumatic compression optimises lymphatic drainage, which carries cellular waste products away from the injured area.
Gregg Jones underwent surgery last year after injuries to his knee. After a femoral osteotomy, meniscus transplant and microfractures, Gregg suffered a lot of swelling and bruising post op, as well as a decreased range of motion in the joint and the pain associated with intense surgery: “I started off really light on the recovery boots, which are great because you can switch off certain areas to avoid any acute injuries. I used the boots twice a week to get rid of the swelling and get my range of motion back. It certainly aided my recovery and complimented the recovery process as an additional therapy.”
Recovery boots, Oedema and Lymphoedema
The lymphatic system is a series of lymph vessels and intervening lymph nodes whose function is to return fluid from the tissues to the central circulation. Normally, fluid and proteins leak into the body tissues regularly from the blood. This tissue fluid bathes the cells, supplies their nutritional needs and receives back the products of their metabolism. Oedema, or fluid retention, occurs when the fluid in our lymphatic system, known as lymph, isn’t removed from our tissues back into our bloodstream, which causes swelling in these areas.
Oedema in the legs can have many different causes, and can result from injury, disease, hot weather, gravity, burns, pregnancy, dietary insufficiencies, medications or chronic venous insufficiency. Fluid retention can include generalised oedema, when swelling occurs throughout the body, and localised oedema, when particular parts of the body are affected. A sprained ankle, for example, may be swollen for a few days.
Lymphoedema however, occurs when the lymphatic system is injured or obstructed. The excess fluid and proteins in the tissue causes swelling and decreases the amount of oxygen getting to the cells. The extra protein causes inflammation, which can lead to fibrosis if it isn’t treated. The combination of extra proteins and body heat can cause bacteria and fungus to breed, which causes infections and places greater stress on the lymphatic system.
Intermittent pneumatic compression is now used to reduce limb oedema and decrease the risk of deep vein thrombosis. By using the recovery boots, an external pressure gradient is introduced to the leg, pushing the lymph, blood and other fluids out of the limb. After a few moments, the pressure is released, enabling blood to flow back in. This increases circulation at all levels of the venous system, including deep veins, saphenous veins, superficial veins and perforator veins, effectively removing metabolic waste from the tissues and therefore reducing the swelling.
Recovery boots and Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage in the knee joint to thin and the surfaces of the joint to become rougher, meaning the knee doesn’t move smoothly and can feel very painful. Swelling is the most common symptom of knee osteoarthritis, which causes stiffness of the joint and negatively affects muscle activity. Two types of swelling can occur with the condition: hard swelling caused by the formation of bony spurs called osteophytes, and soft swelling caused when the joint becomes inflamed and produces excess fluid.
Studies have shown that intermittent pneumatic compression significantly reduces the soft knee swelling in patients with knee osteoarthritis. Our recovery boots reduce swelling in the knee which improves range of motion in the joint and therefore the quality of life for sufferers. The same studies also prove that the use of recovery boots increases muscle strength and decreases pain intensity in those with this condition.
Try or buy our recovery boots today
There are an abundance of conditions and symptoms that using our recovery boots can help, proven by the popularity of the boots with our customers.
We have been so impressed with the improvements that our customers have seen, that we are now stocking the Optima Sport Recovery Boots, so that you can own your very own pair and use them in the comfort of your own home or training premises. Available in K4, K6, and K8 models and in short (110cm) and long (125cm), our boots can suit your individual needs.
For more information, to book an appointment, or to buy a pair of recovery boots, contact us and we will be happy to help.