Date of Project


Document Type

Honors Thesis

School Name

College of Arts and Sciences



Major Advisor

Dr. Sonja K. Bareiss

Second Advisor

Dr. Christopher J. Wingard

Third Advisor

Dr. Catherine Crandell


Older adults often suffer from diseases that cause chronic pain and swelling that have been treated using a variety of modalities, including cold therapy, compression garments, and analgesics. Cold-compression has been shown to reduce pain and inflammation after exercise in young, healthy adults (Dupont et al., 2017). This therapy also may relieve pain and inflammation from older adults, especially those suffering from chronic conditions.

To determine if cold-compression is a safe modality for older adults, both older (65 +) and young (18-30) adults were recruited for a 15-minute bilateral lower extremity therapy session. Outcome measures include blood pressure, ankle brachial index (ABI), tactile sensory threshold, pain-pressure threshold (PPT), and cutaneous temperature. Bilateral cold compression was applied using Aquilo cryocompression pants (Aquilo Sports, Louisville, KY). Water temperature and compression of the pants were monitored during the intervention.

Our study included 25 young adults ( = 23.9 yrs. 1.4) and 19 older adults ( = 70.3 yrs. 3.7). When compared to young adults, older adults saw significantly larger differences in sensory threshold (p = 0.02), PPT (p = 0.02), and cutaneous temperature (p = 0.01) changes in the medial thigh. Average post-intervention skin temperatures on the left medial thigh were lower in the older adults ( = 57.6°F 10.5) than the younger adults ( = 68.2°F 13.2). Based on our study, cold-compression was well tolerated in the older adults and outcome measures were within safe limits, and we recommend it for clinical use in older adults.

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