I was stumped on what to write about today so I asked one of our trainers to see if he had any ideas. He thought it would be a good idea to talk about when you need to ice or put heat on an injury! So that is what I am going to discuss! Let me first tell you about what types of injuries require ice and which ones require heat.
Ice treatment is most commonly used for acute injuries. An acute injury is an injury of rapid onset and progression but of a limited duration. These types of injuries are usually the result of a specific impact or traumatic event to the body. If you have a recent injury (within the last 48 hours) where swelling is a problem, you should be using ice treatment. Ice packs can help minimize swelling around the injury.
Ice packs are often used after injuries such as an ankle sprain have occurred. Applying an ice pack early and often for the first 48 hours can help minimize swelling. Decreasing swelling around an injury will help to control the pain.
Ice treatments may also be used for chronic conditions, such as overuse injuries in athletes. In this case, ice the injured area after activity to help control inflammation. Never ice a chronic injury before activity.
Here is how to ice an injury and some tips!
Get the ice on quickly. Icing is most effective in the immediate period following an injury. The effect of icing diminishes significantly after about 48 hours.
Perform an “ice massage.” Apply ice directly to the injury. Move the ice frequently, not allowing it to sit in one spot.
Don’t forget to elevate. Keep the injured body part elevated above the heart while icing — this will further help reduce swelling.
Watch the clock. Ice for 15-20 minutes, but never longer. You can cause further damage to the tissues, including frostbite, by icing for too long.
Allow time between treatments. Allow area to warm for at least 45 minutes or an hour before beginning the icing routine again.
Repeat as desired. Ice as frequently as you wish, so long as the area is warm to touch and has normal sensation before repeating.
Tips on How to Ice an Injury
Traditional: Use a Ziploc bag with ice cubes or crushed ice. Add a little water to the ice bag so it will conform to your body.
Best: Keep paper cups filled with water in your freezer. Peel the top of the cup away and massage the ice-cup over the injury in a circular pattern allowing the ice to melt away.
Creative: Use a bag of frozen peas or corn from the frozen goods section. This option provides a reusable treatment method that is also edible.
Prevent Frostbite: Do not allow ice to sit against the skin without a layer of protection. Either continually move the ice (see “ice massage”) or use a thin towel between the ice and skin.
Heat treatments should be used for chronic conditions to help relax and loosen tissues, and to stimulate blood flow to the area. Use heat treatments for chronic conditions, such as overuse injuries, before participating in activities.
Do not use heat treatments after activity, and do not use heat after an acute injury. Heating tissues can be accomplished using a heating pad, or even a hot, wet towel. When using heat treatments, be very careful to use a moderate heat for a limited time to avoid burns. Never leave heating pads or towels on for extended periods of time, or while sleeping.
Well there you go! Make sure that you always consult a doctor though before doing anything! If your injury seems to get worse definitely go see a doctor to make sure it isn’t severe!!