Local cold in injuries, should we use ice? For how long?

Inicio » Health tips » Local cold in injuries, should we use ice? For how long?
Local Ice

The simple answer is: Yes, it is advisable to put ice locally. Of course, with a thin cloth, or something similar, between the skin and the ice itself.

When a muscle injury occurs, inflammation is produced in the affected area, with the appearance of a hematoma and edema. This causes a reduction in blood flow to the fibers near the injury, which can result in damage due to lack of oxygen.

By applying cold, you will decrease the initial bleeding, allowing you to control the hemorrhage and prevent healthy fibers from being affected. Ice does not have healing properties, but anti-inflammatory.

How long should we ice a muscle injury?

Regarding ice time on the skin, it has been shown that the best results are obtained by applying cold for 20 minutes every hour, for a total of 6 hours. This reduces the oxygen demand of healthy fibers by 2 to 5 times, protecting them from further damage by decreasing metabolism.

It is important to apply cold variably in the first 48 hours after injury. If we do not have a specific pharmacy bag, we can use the typical bag of frozen peas.

When not to use ice

  • Moments after finishing an intense physical exercise.
  • If the area where the ice is applied has numbness.
  • When the pain or inflammation involves a specific nerve, such as the ulnar nerve (also known as the “funny bone”).
  • In case the athlete has a sympathetic dysfunction, affecting the nerves in charge of blood flow and sweat gland activities.
  • If the athlete has any vascular disease, such as poor circulation due to blood loss, blood vessel injury, compartment syndrome, vasculitis, blood clots or Raynaud’s disease.
  • If the application of ice compromises the integrity of the skin, as in the case of an open wound, a wound that has not healed completely, stretched, blistered, burned or delicate skin.
  • If the athlete presents hypersensitivity to cold, even if he/she experiences cold-induced urticaria (cold urticaria).

If you have any questions, please contact us at info@salvumclinic.com.

Hi, Clinica Gran Alacant!