When Should I Ice a Foot Injury, and When Is Heat Better?

August 23, 2018

Cold Compress    Foot Injury    Swollen Feet    Ankle Injury   Cold Gel Wrap

When it comes to determining whether ice or heat is better for an injury, there are a few rules to keep in mind. Some injuries require immediate and ongoing icing, and benefit from heat. There are also some injuries that benefit from both ice and heat in order to improve circulation and reduce muscle tension. Treat My Feet’s new Hot/Cold Wraps can do both. Find out when to ice and when to heat and how one product can provide relief for any discomfort you experience from your feet.

When should I ice an injury?

Brand new injuries such as ankle sprains and strains, soreness after a hard workout, or swelling after walking on hard or uneven surfaces such as gravel or sand benefit from ice. The acronym R.I.C.E. is an easy-to-remember treatment program that involves the following:

R – Rest a swollen or newly injured body part.

I  – Ice the foot and ankle for 5-10 minutes. Do not exceed 20 minutes as there is a risk of skin and nerve damage beyond 20 minutes.

C – Since compression is helpful for reducing swelling and supporting a newly injured foot or ankle, wrap the foot with a cloth compression bandage such as an ACE bandage, starting at the toes, and then circling the foot, ankle, and lower part of the leg.

E – Elevate the injured foot to assist the body in the healing process. The foot should be elevated above the heart, ideally propped on a few pillows while you are lying down.

The Treat My Feet Foot and Ankle Hot/Cold Gel Wrap provides safe, evenly distributed cold therapy to the foot and ankle. For cold therapy, simply place the gel wrap in the freezer for 2 hours, and then apply it to the injured foot while wearing a sock. Use the gel wrap for no longer than 20 minutes.

If you can lie down and elevate the foot, it is ideal for the healing process. However, if you don’t have time for that, because of the secure Velcro straps on the gel wrap, you can wear the wrap while working at your desk or sitting on the couch. After 10-20 minutes, simply place the gel wrap back in the freezer. Wait 40-60 minutes, and then apply ice again. Repeat this process as often as possible within the first 3 days of the injury. After 3 days, ice intermittently when the ankle or foot is sore or swollen. If swelling doesn’t resolve for the most part after 3 days, see your physician.

When should I use heat on a foot or ankle injury?

Heat is better than cold for sore, aching, or more long-term injuries that do not involve inflammation. Heat should be used no earlier than 3 days after an injury, and only after inflammation has resolved. Some people with circulatory issues may respond well to heat on their feet to improve blood flow to the area. And, often, people prefer heat over ice for treating chronic and ongoing tension and pain.

Heat should be used for 10-15 minutes ideally on sore feet. The Treat My Feet Foot and Ankle Hot/Cold Gel Wrap can be heated in the microwave or by pouring hot water over the wrap and immersing it for 90 seconds. Once the wrap is warm but not too hot to hold, it can be wrapped around a sock-covered foot. The Velcro straps of the gel pack allow it to be worn while working at your desk, relaxing on the couch, or resting in bed. It can be worn for up to 30 minutes before removal is necessary.

When should contrasting, or alternating, heat and ice be used?

Alternating heat and ice therapies can be used when an injury is no longer acute – at least 2 days after the injury. The thinking is that alternating between hot and cold packs brings in fresh blood flow to the area with the heat pack and then shunts it back out with the cold pack, thus helping to facilitate healing with continuous fresh circulation. There isn’t any solid research on this technique, but many people experience benefits of less pain and improved function using this technique.

For more information and to order the Hot/Cold Gel Wrap visit www.TreatMyFeet.net.

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