Should I ice my knee after an injury? Or should I heat it?
ice my knee in The Calming Phase
During the initial phase of healing, our goal should be to calm down the injured site. This means, preventing further damage, controlling swelling and reducing any muscle spasm results. At this point in an injury, the best modality for it is ice. Cold therapy will help reduce swelling and reduce the blood flow in the area. If you have an injury which has some kind of inflammatory response happening, you want to calm it down with ice. Now, some people will disagree with me, and say that we need to heat the area in order to increase blood flow. This is true, if the healing process has progressed to a certain point. However, if we have active inflammation, I believe it is clear that our first goal is to reduce swelling, and the best modality for that is ice. For a knee injury, that would be ice to the knee. Most of the time this will be the first day or two after an injury. After that point, what I would recommend with knee injuries is to do a contrast. This is where we apply heat and the ice. In this way, we can increase the blood flow and maybe work on a little mobility, but then calm it down so we don’t re-start the inflammatory process with more swelling.
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