Ice or Heat?… R.I.C.E!

Surprisingly, one of the most common questions sport physiotherapist and former professional soccer player Rick Celebrini still gets asked is, “should I use ice or heat after an injury?”

All of us at one time or another can recall enjoying the soothing comfort of a hot tub after sustaining a minor injury, only to come out with the injured area looking like something off the Discovery Channel and will attest to the answer being a resounding “ice.”

Whether your injury is a knock, pull or tear, there will likely be some bleeding and inflammation of the injured tissues and blood vessels. The body has an inflammatory response, essential to the healing process. The bleeding and excessive inflammation can delay healing, and possibly increase the amount of injured tissue involved.

The most effective way to decrease bleeding and inflammation and to speed up the healing process is to use a combination of rest, ice, compression and elevation. This healing process is commonly referred to by its’ acronym RICE. Rest or a break from your sport decreases the chances of additional damage to the injured area. Ice, as studies point out, is much more effective when applied withcompression. Finally, elevation helps the body to naturally reduce swelling.

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