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Clearing Up the Ice Versus Heat Mystery
Ice versus heat? This is a common question that many athletes, coming to my office in Grapevine, Texas, ask. Most understand that ice immediately after an injury is very important. The questions usually revolve around when to use the heat. There are some basic guidelines that every athlete can use to reduce confusion.
Immediately put ice on the “wounds to fall, go boom”. Ice works well to reduce redness, swelling, and internal bleeding in acute injuries. It is also an excellent pain reliever. Acute injuries and post-surgical pain and swelling usually respond well to 10-15 minutes of ice every few hours. This should be done for several weeks after an injury or surgery. Ice can be in the form of an ice pack (ice wrapped in a protective towel) or an ice massage (massage with a frozen water bottle or ice pack).
Ice can also be helpful in reducing swelling from a chronic injury like runner’s knee or plantar fasciitis. Icing immediately after activity can prevent further inflammation of an already bored area and aid in recovery.
So where does the heat come from? Heat can be used in different ways. Contrast baths with ice/heat/ice can be useful in cases of chronic injuries. Especially joints or tendons that still have a little inflammation or edema. Heat should never be used alone in these cases. Moist heat is ideal for chronic stiffness and old wounds with scar tissue. It can also help in the rehabilitation process. For example, when plantar fasciitis becomes plantar fasciosis after four to six months (which is chronic degeneration of the plantar fascia), deep heat therapy with ultrasound or moist heat packs can help increase the amplitude of the zone movements and to increase the effectiveness of the physique. therapy. Heat actually temporarily increases inflammation in an area, but it’s often helpful in starting the healing process. Heat can also be used to calm muscle spasms and relax a tight muscle.
Heat causes increased circulation to an area, so it should never be used for acute injuries or chronic injuries with a lot of swelling. It can actually make an injury worse if there is still some internal bleeding. A great way to heat a joint or tendon is to use a reusable heat pack or electric heating pad for about 20 minutes before stretching, massaging, or using other therapy. Heating an old injury before exercise can also be helpful in warming up the area to prepare it for increased activity.
The simple rule is that ice is used for acute, swollen injuries and heat is used for stiff, chronic injuries. This topic is debated all the time, but I hope this discussion clarifies the mystery of ice versus heat!
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