Just last week, I posted about the first serious study on the use of “cryosaunas” for post-workout recovery. Now I have an important update for athletes considering using a cryosauna: make sure to take off any sweaty clothes before you enter the sauna! According to AP, Justin Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic champion sprinter (and convicted doper), has arrived in South Korea for the World Championships sporting a serious case of frostbite caused by wearing sweaty socks into a cryosauna:
“You wake up at 9 o’clock in the morning in Orlando and it’s already 90 degrees,” said the 29-year-old Gatlin, who lives and trains in Florida. “So we’re already hot, drenched with sweat. Get in the booth, socks were wet, socks froze to me instantly.”[…] Gatlin said the pain from the frostbite had subsided and the injury hadn’t affected his stride. But it is still bothersome because the wounds on his heels are near the level where his socks sit and where the back of his running spikes touch.
“It’s better than it was. It was all pussed up and blistered. It bubbled up and it stayed bubbled up for a good four or five days,” Gatlin said, lifting up his sweat pants to reveal the scabby scars that resemble big blisters.
So there you go: using liquid nitrogen for post-workout recovery has some downsides. Who knew?