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Icing new injuries – how to treat your acute or sports injuries

Monday, June 03, 2013

As the colder months roll around, we may find ourselves looking for a warmer alternative to treat any injuries. However, using heat or avoiding any care or therapy can do more harm than good. Knowing when and how to ice an acute injury is essential in recovering. We have some helpful tips below on how to treat your new injury over the next few days.

What is an acute injury?

An acute injury is a sudden or rapid onset of pain associated with an injury caused by any impact or trauma such as a sprain, fall or overuse. It is easy to identify if you have an acute injury which needs icing. If you are experiencing any signs of pain, swelling, redness, soreness to touch or abnormal warmth at the site of injury then you have an acute injury in need of ice!

Why should I use ice for my injury?

Ice is the best choice for any injuries with swelling and extreme pain as it reduces swelling or any further bleeding or bruising to the site.

How do I ice my injury?

Step one: Getting the ice onto your injury as quickly as possible is the best approach you can take. The beneficial effects of icing your acute injury are drastically reduced after 48 hours so it is important to act on your pain!

Step two: Remember to move the ice around! Do not allow it to sit on one area, as it can result in frostbite or further damage. Gently move the ice around. Using a damp thin tea towel or cloth can make this a little easier.

Icing a new injury - massage can assist. Step three: Ensure you keep your injury well elevated during icing. This will help reduce the level of swelling. Above the heart is ideal, however any elevation comfortable will be beneficial.

Step four: Keep your eye on the time when icing your injury. Icing for more than 15-20 minutes can be harmful and cause further problems. Never go to bed with an ice pack strapped on to your injury!

Step five: Don’t ice back to back! Give your body some time to warm up again, ideally between 45 minutes to an hour, before you apply ice again.

Step six: Repeat as often as needed over the next 48 hours, just remember to be mindful of your timing during and after icing!

If you are experiencing any extreme pain or discomfort it is important to consult your GP as soon as possible. You may need further treatment from a physiotherapist, x-rays to investigate the site of your injury or a supportive brace or bandage. Getting a massage can also assist in your recovery. Massage therapy is known to help release tight muscles, aid in circulation and promote relaxation.

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