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Heat or Ice???

If You Have Ever Been Injured Or Felt Sore After An Intense Workout, You May Have Found Yourself Wondering Whether To Use Ice Or Heat. Below, Find Some Tips And Research To Help You Decide!

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IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE INJURY OCCURS, USE ICE! DO NOT LEAVE THE ICE ON FOR MORE THAN 15 MINUTES. CONTINUE TO USE ICE FOR UP TO 72 HOURS FOLLOWING AN INJURY!

After 72 hours, you can begin to apply heat to the area. Our Doctors at Exchange Place Therapy Group recommend warming up the area with heat for 10 minutes then doing some gently joint mobilization exercises and stretches.  It is then recommend that ice is applied 1 hour before bedtime for 15 minutes to decrease the inflammation from the day.  If swelling is still present, use a compression wrap throughout the day and elevate the limb when able. Elevation is effective to reduce swelling when raised above the level of the heart. For example: after an ankle injury, lie flat and prop your foot up on several pillows of the back of a couch.

HEAT

  • Decreases joint stiffness
  • Helps to elongate muscles/tissues when applied before stretching
  • Reduces risk of injury (this is why you wear layers running in the winter)
  • Promotes healing by increasing blood flow to the area and warms tissue before activity

Take away - It is beneficial to use heat to warm up the tissue before activity!

ICE

  • Prevents/reduces swelling - especially important within the first 2 hours following an injury
  • Crushed ice packs are more effective than chemical or gel packs
  • Ice with rest, elevation and compression are the best way to combat swelling and increase healing

Take away - Icing after injury helps to reduce swelling and inflammation. Compression and elevation also help to decrease swelling and improve healing timeline.

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