Home > Uncategorized > Ice, Ice, Baby …

Ice, Ice, Baby …


Sometimes you don’t see it coming until it hits … other times, you know it’s going to burn, but you do it anyway. Some ideas and tips from Liz Plosser of Runner’s World on what icing does and how to ice effectively to help prevent DOMS and speed healing.


Using icing as a Band-Aid to push through uncomfortable overuse injuries is never recommended, however, icing in conjunction with rest can greatly increase healing time and athletic performance.

Here is what we do know:

  • Exercise causes micro trauma (tiny tears in the muscles).
  • Icing or any kind of cold therapy stimulates the muscle cell activity, helps repair micro trauma, and aids in strengthening muscles.
  • Icing has been linked to delayed muscle pain and soreness.

Here’s how it works:

A cold compress or cold bath causes blood vessels to constrict. When the area becomes warm again, blood rushes to flush out metabolic buildup quicker than it if it were pumped out normally. This is what causes a decrease in swelling and soreness.


Tips on How to Ice

  • Don’t: Ice Before You Workout
    Numbing a body part before working out can block signals to your brain that would tell you to back off. This may cause you to alter your movement, increasing injury risk.
  • Do: Apply Ice ASAP After a Workout
    Whether you suffer an acute injury or have a chronic issue, ice the area as soon as you get home. When applied immediately, ice decreases swelling and initiates healing.
  • Don’t: Leave It on Too Long
    Don’t ice for more than 20 minutes or you’ll risk frostbite. If your skin looks red, it’s a warning sign you’re pushing it. Remove the ice once you feel numbness.
  • Do: Leave It on for Long Enough
    If you ice less than 10 minutes, you’ll cool your skin, but there will be minimal effect on underlying muscle tissue,” Dykstra says. “Fifteen to 20 minutes is ideal.”
  • Don’t: Call It Quits After One Day
    An injury benefits from ice in the days following the trauma. But if your symptoms worsen, or if your knee has been nagging you since, uh, the Ice Age, see a doctor.
  • Do: Continue Icing During the Day
    To maximize the benefits, ice five times a day, with at least 45 minutes in between applications. This keeps tissue temperature low to minimize inflammation.
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