Should You Use Heat or Ice for Injuries?

As the football season starts to gear up, injury is the ugly skeleton in the closet every player hopes to avoid. Even a minor problem can take a player off the lineup and onto the sidelines indefinitely. Starting center for the Texas Longhorns, Dominic Espinosa, went down in his first season game with a broken right ankle. These players have an excellent medical team who know how to treat this type of injury but if you sustain a foot or ankle injury at home, do you know whether to use ice or heat?

The action you take immediately after injury sets the stage for successful healing. Heating vs. icing is often confusing, but its important that you take precautions to apply the right one. The wrong treatment could actually lead to further injury and pain. If you sustain a sprain, bruise, or break, applying ice is the first step in treatment. After an injury occurs, swelling is an immediate symptom. This is due to broken blood vessels and extra blood that rushes to the injury site with oxygen and nutrients to help with the healing process. The reason ice is the best treatment to use first is that it helps to constrict blood vessels, which reduces swelling. This minimizes the leaking blood from broken vessels and reduces pain.

In the days following the injury, when the swelling has gone down and healing is taking place, this is when heat can be beneficial. Muscles respond well to heat and it is helpful before exercise to stimulate blood flow and relax your muscles, which helps avoid further injury. If you experience pain once again after exercise, you would go back to using ice. In both cases, it doesnt take long for the heat and cold to workan ice pack or heating pad only needs to be used for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. If you have a condition such as diabetes, which could inhibit your ability to feel heat or cold, you need to be extra careful to avoid injury or burns.

If you have a serious foot or ankle injury, have it checked out by Dr. Aleisha Allen to ensure your long-term foot health is protected with the right treatment. Contact Houston Foot Specialists in Houston, TX, by calling (713) 467-8886.

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Category: Foot Health

Tags: Feet, Injuries