This study sought to a) compare and contrast the effect of 2 commonly used cryotherapy treatments, 4 min of − 110 °C whole body cryotherapy and 8 °C cold water immersion, on knee skin temperature and b) establish whether either protocol was capable of achieving a skin temperature ( < 13 °C) believed to be required for analgesic purposes. After ethics committee approval and written informed consent was obtained, 10 healthy males (26.5 ± 4.9 yr, 183.5 ± 6.0 cm, 90.7 ± 19.9 kg, 26.8 ± 5.0 kg/m 2 , 23.0 ± 9.3 % body fat; mean ± SD) participated in this randomised controlled crossover study. Skin temperature around the patellar region was assessed in both knees via non-contact, infrared thermal imaging and recorded pre-, immediately post-treatment and every 10 min thereafter for 60 min. Compared to baseline, average, minimum and maximum skin temperatures were significantly reduced (p < 0.001) immediately post-treatment and at 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 min after both cooling modalities. Average and minimum skin temperatures were lower (p < 0.05) immediately after whole body cryotherapy (19.0 ± 0.9 ° C) compared to cold water immersion (20.5 ± 0.6 ° C). However, from 10 to 60 min post, the average, minimum and maximum skin temperatures were lower (p < 0.05) following the cold water treatment. Finally, neither protocol achieved a skin temperature believed to be required to elicit an analgesic effect.