Icing an Acute Injury

There has been some recent research that has shown that the use of ice on a new (acute) injury may not be that helpful and in fact, may result in a poorer healing outcome.

The research showed that injured tendons that were treated with ice immediately after injury had somewhat less pain and swelling but they also had less remodeling and tissue regeneration which resulted in poorer quality healing. From these findings it is thought that ice may actually interrupt the natural healing process by successfully reducing the inflammation (anti-inflammatory). Unfortunately, the flip side of this is poor quality tissue repair thus leaving the injured tissue vulnerable to further injury.

It seems we need the inflammatory phase to take place in order to activate the full healing process! In summary, this research is calling into question long held beliefs and is advising against the use of any anti-inflammatory agent, including ice and medicine, in the treatment of acute injuries! For more information, seek the advice of your physiotherapist or occupational therapist.

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