Heat or Ice: What to do after sports injuries?

August 16, 2017

Ice packs or heat pads are the most common remedies used to immediately treat physical injuries that occur due to sports injuries or everyday activities. How do we know when to use the right kind of treatment and at what time?

The Ice treatment

This method is used commonly for acute sports injuries that have taken place within the last 48 hours and has a swelling. Ice packs help minimize swelling around the injuries and help ease the pain. Ice treatments can be used in chronic conditions that occur during injuries for athletes. They majorly help in treating sprains, which damage the blood vessels and cause swelling. Applying something cold, such as an ice pack or even a bag of frozen vegetables can constrict the blood vessels and reduce the swelling.

Types of sports injuries ice treatment can be used for:

  1. Sprains – ankle, knee, muscle or joint.
  2. Red, hot or swollen body parts.
  3. Acute pain intensive exercise.

Tips for using the icing treatment:

  1. The response should be quick, as the sooner the ice is applied to the injury, the sooner the inflammation reduces and the wound starts to heal.
  2. Ice can be used after high-intensity exercise to prevent or reduce inflammation.
  3. Icing should be limited to 20 minutes, as excessive icing can irritate the skin and cause tissue damage.
  4. Icing of an injury should be continued for 24 – 48 hours if the inflammation does not reduce.

The Heat treatment

This method is used commonly for chronic sports injuries that help relax and loosen tissues and stimulate blood flow to the area. Heating pads, hot or a heated wet towel are some forms of heat treatments. Chronic pain indicates that the body has not healed completely and there is the frequent recurring pain.

Types of sports injuries heat treatment can be used for:

  1. Muscle pain and soreness
  2. Stiff joints
  3. Arthritis
  4. Old or recurring injuries

Tips for using the heat treatment:

  1. The heat provides a soothing effect by stimulating circulation and increasing tissue elasticity that offers immediate relief.
  2. Do not apply heat treatment after intense activity.
  3. Try not to use heat treatment for an extended period of time as it may lead to burns, blisters and skin irritation.

Any sports injury that prolongs even after trying the heat or the ice treatment needs to be treated by a physician. Apollo Spectra offers the best sports physiotherapy treatment with advanced facilities and top specialists. Follow the mentioned steps, to provide immediate relief to any inflammation and swelling that occurs because of injuries.