Icing Injuries

I don’t usually engage in forms of exercise that would conclude with me soaking in an ice bath or grabbing a bag of peas out of the freezer, but I know many of you do. I do, however, have some background knowledge on cold modalities as I’ve learned through being a swim coach and I thought it would be nice to share.

Cold Water Immersions/Ice Baths – Ice Baths seem to be the most popular choice for many people in the blog world. For some I know this method works, but I think that it should be used with caution as the temperature of the bath should never dip below 55 degrees and never exceed 10-15 minutes.

Ice Massages – I personally think Ice Massages are the best form of icing because “ice cups” incorporate rubbing/massaging and the cold allows you to penetrate the tissue better. To use this method fill a cup with water and allow it to freeze. Remove ice from the cup and rub over desired area for no longer than 2 minutes at a time.

Biofreeze/Similar products – Biofreeze can be a great topical solution, but it should be noted that it shouldn’t be used as an anti-treatment agent. Some athletes continually numb the area instead of trying to get to the source of the injury – don’t fall into this trap.

Ice Packs – Ice Packs, bags of frozen veggies, and Ziploc baggies full of ice can all serve as excellent tools for treating sports related injuries. Skin shouldn’t be in contact with ice for longer than 10-15 minutes and the smaller the area (and the tissue mass) the less time you should spend icing.

Ice towels + Cold Sprays – Some people are very sensitive to ice. If you are anti-ice due to sensitivity or other reasons using damp towels or cool sprays over injured areas can provide the same sensation as a stronger method.

Happy Icing!



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8 responses to “Icing Injuries

  1. icing is so crappy but works so well! love the tips 🙂

  2. I am trying to be better about icing. I need to do it more often–even if I don’t have pain.

  3. Maybe it’s because I am always cold, but I hate icing!! I only do it with a really bad injury (like when I broke my finger) I prefer heat for all sore muscles, aches etc-works like a charm.

  4. I’ve used ice on my knees pretty often since they are prone to injury. Great list!

  5. Pingback: Weekends « What Kate Ate

  6. I love your blog soooo much!! It’s really inspiring and makes me want to travel (even though I’m only a senior in high school).
    I have a question about injuries…I’m not sure if you would have an answer for this since you’re mainly a swim coach (I ❤ swimminggg :D), but typically when spring track and field starts up, I get shin splints (since I'm a long distance runner) and I was wondering if icing my shin would help? Or should I use heat?

    • Thanks! RICE! Rest, ice, compression, elevation! Make sure you have supportive sneaks & then stretch, stretch, stretch. If after stretching & icing you are still having issues the next best thing to do is rest until your muscles have recovered. Id talk to you coach too about any techniques (warm up, stretching, post-run) & tips they have to make it an easier transition. Good luck!

  7. Pingback: Swim | What Kate Ate

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