For many types of injuries, doctors will tell you to either use heat therapy, cold therapy or a combination of the two. It can become very confusing when you are trying to remember which is the best option based on the injury or ailment. These are the most common instances when you should be using cold therapy.

When Cold Therapy Should Generally Be Used

Ice is a great therapy to be used for injuries. This is because the cold will narrow your blood vessels. In turn, this results in preventing a lot of blood from accumulating at the injury site. By preventing this from happening, it will also reduce inflammation and swelling. When there is excess inflammation and swelling, you can also delay the healing process so ice and cold therapy can help speed up your healing as well. When used with elevation, you can further reduce swelling.

What is RICE?cold therapy for knee injury

If you have been told to use cold therapy, you have also likely been told to utilize the RICE method. RICE stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation. You should use this kind of treatment for approximately 48 to 72 hours after the injury so you can ease some pain and also reduce the possibility of secondary tissue damage. When using the RICE method, and any other time you want to use cold therapy, you will only want to use ice for 20 minutes every hour. If you use it for longer, you can cause damage to your skin and even run the risk of getting frostbite. This is also why it is important to avoid direct exposure by using a cloth or towel between the ice and your skin.

If you have an injury and would like to get some medical help, be sure to reach out to your Jacksonville orthopedics at Southeast Orthopedic Specialists.

Return to Blog