Hot vs Cold

Hot vs Cold

    by -
    PHOTO CREDIT: Jacques Marais

    Ice and heat therapy can be of great benefit if used correctly… many athletes however, do not use it correctly or sometimes even not at all.

    When referring to injuries, the general rule of thumb is as follows:

    • Acute injuries (within 5-7 days after injury), always apply ice to decrease the swelling.
    • Sub acute injuries (injury 1-2 weeks old), start using contrast therapy. Apply ice for 10 minutes, followed by 10 minutes’ heat.
    • Chronic injuries (injury older than 2 weeks), heat therapy has been proven to be most beneficial to increase circulation. Poor circulation is often the biggest problem in chronic injuries, which will delay healing.

    After vigorous exercise ice bath therapy is scientifically proven to aid in:

    • Constricting the blood vessels to reduce swelling.
    • Decreasing lactic acid build-up and preventing pooling of waste products in the muscles.
    • DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) occurring after training is prevented and the athlete will feel less stiff.

    Using ice therapy after training will speed up recovery and prevent future injuries. Immersion in an ice bath for 10-15 minutes after training is sufficient to achieve the above-mentioned effects.

    Injury occurrence and recurrence will decrease dramatically when you start incorporating ice bath therapy and stretches in your post-exercise routine.

    Lené van Heerden
    As a physiotherapist Lené works with people in all walks of life, taking part in almost any and every type of physical activity. More often than not they find themselves in more pain than what you can ever imagine. Working with these people energizes her, but it is also poses a great challenge. Through this she has learnt a lot about the prevention and management of injuries. Lené will be providing trail runners with valuable tips and techniques to avoid injuries and to enhance their performance on the trails! Trail Running is my ticket to switching off my phone, getting dirty and experiencing nature the way it was intended.