“Ice, Ice, Baby”

Although the title suggests a Vanilla Ice song… what I plan to discuss today is icing and injuries. Why should we ice? When? For how long? What are the benefits of icing?

According to “about.com” , Ice:

“1)Decreases the inflammation and swelling that occur after injury
2)Helps decrease the pain by numbing sore tissues
3)Slows nerve impulses which interrupts the spasm reaction between nerves” (source via).

Here’s a picture of yours truly, icing my knees last night after a run:) I ice primarly to reduce the swelling after  a hard workout, for example, after hard run (speedwork OR LONG run), the excessive pounding on my joints and the repetitive movement make MY knees swell – luckily ice helps that!

The important thing to remember is that you should always ice when acute pain occurs, acute pain can be defined by short-lived or rapid onset. An example of an acute pain would be a sprained ankle or overuse and/or chronic injuries in athletes (a.k.a. my knees!). Cold therapy is most effective when applied immediately after the injury; it will help reduce swelling (as explained above) and pain. “Ice is a vaso-constrictor (it causes the blood vessels to narrow) and it limits internal bleeding at the injury site.” (source via) It is not helpful and can cause a false sense of secuity (due to numbness) if icing an chronic injury before exercise.

Things to remember when icing:

1. Keep the ice in a towel (wet it if you don’t feel the cold through  it) to protect your skin from frost bites.

2. Ice should be applied for 10-15 minutes at a time.

3. Before re-applying ice a 2nd time, make sure that the affected area has returned to normal skin temperature (to touch) and that any redness is gone. Ice can be re-applied 2-3 times as needed.

Oh and if you are a crazy runner and want to torture yourself badly… ice baths are a great recovery!

haha, until next time, keep it moving!

One response to ““Ice, Ice, Baby”

  1. Excellent article.. Love the picture, been in that situation many times!


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