As the summer winds down and fall sports step to the forefront many people are getting excited for football season. Those closely following the NFL may have noticed a curious story that has been circulating in the news involving a prominent player sustaining a rather bizarre injury to his feet. Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown suffered a frostbite injury to the bottom of his feet after undergoing a treatment know as cryotherapy. Whole body cryotherapy is a treatment meant to aid in recovery and healing. It involves exposing an individual to cold air for a period of 2-4 minutes either in an enclosed room or a chamber. The cold temperature is achieved with the use of liquid nitrogen or refrigerated coiled air. While it is used by many professional athletes and celebrities the jury is still out in terms of it being supported by scientific research. It is extremely important for those undergoing the treatment to be aware of the necessary precautions prior to undergoing the treatment. Proper shoes, gloves, and sometimes face masks are needed to mitigate risks of injury to the cold and the fumes produced. The treatment should always be done under the supervision of a medical professional.
Now while the average person may not be heading to a cryotherapy chamber on a regular basis there is a take home point here for all of our patients. That point is that even though your exercise, treatment, or training regimens have benefits for your overall health, ensure that you know your risks and prepare yourself before hand. Stretching before and after a work outs, warming up, staying hydrated, wearing the proper shoes and attire for the activity, and using proper form when stretching and exercising are all ways to ensure that you stay injury free as you exercise. So whether you are gearing up for a leisurely hike to enjoy the colors of fall or preparing for another grueling season as an elite professional football player make sure to prepare yourself appropriately for your activities. Enjoy the rest of the summer and take great care of yourself!