Injuring your ankle can be a devastating blow in many ways. You feel stiff, sore, and swollen from being unable to move around as quickly as you'd like. You may also lose out on essential opportunities if you can't return to work or even your loved ones because you're stuck at home! That doesn't have to be the case, though. Ice and heat are both simple treatments that are very effective in speeding up the healing process of your injury. So whether you're looking for a quick fix for injured ankle & swelling after damage occurs or wish to remedy some knee pain, such as arthritis, learn more here on when to use Ice or heat for an injured ankle!
When and How to Use Cold Therapy
Cold is a quick and easy first step to managing pain and swelling. If you are unsure of the severity of your injury, consider seeing a doctor first. Still, it can be an immediate action to prevent unnecessary swelling in many cases. Ice is also an ideal option for managing pain and swelling that could get slightly worse when you begin (and progress) an exercise program.
Benefits of Cold Therapy
Cold turns your skin white and stiffens it up, which helps restrict the blood vessels of an area causing fluid to build up. It also numbs the nerves in an area that deals with pain, allowing you to cope with swelling. However, when too much fluid builds up, this squeezes the nearby muscles against one another, which irritates them, and causes them to tighten up and cramp, leading back to a slippery slope where our ankle has even more trouble staying stable. Thus, applying Ice helps prevent and recover from ankle issues quickly and safely!
How to Properly Apply Cold Therapy
There are three steps to follow when applying cold therapy to an injured body part. The first is the ache or soreness you feel right after an injury. Next, your area might feel "burning," indicating it's starting to swell. Finally, you may experience a general numbness in your injury, and swelling should begin to subside shortly after this stage. After experiencing these three stages of cold application treatment, the icing will have achieved its ultimate goal: therapeutic pain and swelling relief!
- We suggest applying a thin layer between your skin and the cold pack to achieve total comfort while using ice packs to inhibit blood circulation. A towel is an example of a fabric that can hinder blood flow; therefore, a t-shirt or pillowcase would best maintain therapeutic numbness.
- It usually takes about 10-15 minutes to achieve “numb” status (less with ice massage).
- Once the area is numb, you can stop icing.
- If you wish to apply Ice to an injury, it's best to do so for a short time. Using straight Ice for several minutes never ends well because your body will dilate the vessels near the area of injury to warm things up again. When you use Ice again, your body will reactively open the surrounding vessels later. Ice is best-used bit by bit, like 15-20 minutes over a chunk of your day rather than all at once; remember that "more" is not better here!
Best Ways to Apply Cold Therapy
Cold Pack or Ankle Ice Wrap
A cold therapy pack will provide compression for additional pain and swelling management. Please remove it from the freezer and place it where it is needed. For best results, use this product three times a day.
This new topical cream provides a cooling sensation for temporary pain management.
If you're looking for great ways to speed up muscle recovery, this one is for you! Many people use ice packs, but there's a better way. Water is often frozen in a paper cup and rubbed directly on the injured area for 5-10 minutes. This method not only alleviates pain better than an ice pack, but it also helps to promote healing quicker and more thoroughly because the chill penetrates the skin more effectively than simply applying an ice pack.
Ice Therapy Machine
This machine lets ice-cold water flow through thin tubes wrapped around the ankle and foot to reduce swelling.
Placing the foot and ankle in a bucket or tub of cold water can immediately affect large areas.
When and How to Use Heat Therapy
While ice therapy is generally more effective when an injury first occurs, and the secondary effects are more powerful and noticeable, finding the proper heat treatment for your needs is possible. Heat treatment is generally more agreeable from a patient's perspective when it is possible. Comparatively, the heat could be applied throughout the recovery pattern. The period when the heat may apply is not after those full days of an injury. It can be used before and after exercise to help with pain and stiffness control and stress management during recoveries or simply living with chronic aches/pains/conditions (like fibromyalgia).
Benefits of Heat Therapy
Most people (in fact, the majority) enjoy taking in some heat occasionally. It helps cover all sorts of niggles and aches and pains that can sometimes be quite distracting! If you're lucky enough to live in a place with a hot climate or weather, you'll benefit from the ability to bathe yourself in the warm rays for longer hours than if you live somewhere colder. Heat also helps boost blood flow, which is usually good since it means accelerating recovery time after sustained injuries. There's another bonus: just as natural heat relaxes sore muscles, it also takes your mind off what's troubling you because it feels so good! Many patients can sleep more accessible when they feel relaxed due to heat being applied during this process.
Best Ways to Apply Heat Therapy
These are generally warmed up in the microwave or water and placed where needed.
Heat the Herbal Heating Pad in the microwave, wrap it around any area of your body, and place it where needed.
Draw a hot bath and relax your mind and body, or Put warm water in a bucket just for your foot and ankle.
Dry heat actively increases circulation throughout the body. It's a perfect option for those who prefer longer sauna sessions and want to avoid damaging their skin with too much exposure to steam.
Why Swelling Happens
Swelling is often demonized as a new injury occurs. It signals pain in the injured area, but the node is an essential part of healing, allowing for a proper recovery due to the suitable cells entering the affected area. While anyone who has experienced swelling knows it can be very uncomfortable, actual pain isn't always necessary to recover from an injury. Such pains may be managed better with ice packs if you're looking for specific ways to take care of your body, such as applying cold therapy packs to reduce pain caused by swelling of muscles and joints.
Alternating Cold and Hot Therapy
For years, alternating between heat and cold therapy for the ankle has proven a successful treatment for healing and rehabilitation. Using cold therapy provides constriction of blood vessels that helps reduce swelling. Cooling down an area after microtrauma or soft tissue damage promotes healthy blood flow and can also aid in healing breakdowns from over-stretching, such as tendonitis and scar formation. The best time to apply Ice is when you have a new injury or acute pain since it is designed to reduce swelling on inflamed tissue more effectively. The best time to apply heat is at the end of your typical physical exertions or weariness before bed!
You have to perform this procedure in a particular way to obtain therapeutic outcomes. The most important thing is to ice them for 20 mins, causing the vessels to be narrow, then heat them over 15 minutes, which causes the vessels to expand. This is a pumping mechanism for inflammation by pushing out of the injury.
It is crucial to finish the treatment with Ice (unless you're dealing with an ongoing muscle spasm in the back). This is because when you end the treatment on Ice, blood vessels will narrow and help prevent inflammation from returning to the region.
Ice and heat are excellent options for any injuries or sore body parts at any point and give significant relief from pain.
Ice isn't as relaxing as heat, and Ice can sometimes cause pain or cause burning for the initial 5 to 7 minutes in a 20-minute session. However, it can be extremely helpful in most pains and aches if properly used.
When to avoid Cold and Hot Therapy?
Heat and cold therapy require careful attention to the condition of your skin throughout the treatment. There's a possibility of burning or frostbite when the sensation is impaired or if you aren't regularly checking the condition of your skin. There are some warning signs to consider when using heat or Ice.
- Avoid using heat or Ice for vascular disease or diabetes or if you feel uncomfortable in your ankle.
- Do not use heat if you are suffering from MS to avoid the possibility of relapses.
- Do not force any movements or exercises following any treatment due to a change in sensation.
"This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Always consult your physician to determine a treatment plan that is right for you."