Heat or Ice?

Help Support ValveReplacement.org:


Chillin, just chillin....
VR.org Supporter
Dec 15, 2005
South Carolina
I never can remember when to use what ... I have a chronic pain on the outside of my right foot ... I believe it's from a wreck in 1979 ... Its fine until I'm on it all day and then it is like a burn and swells ... it is located kind of between the ankle bone and soul of the foot ... I have been icing it because the cold feels so good on it but it is not any better, oh by morning and being off of it it is fine ... so when is the rule of thumb on heat vs icing? ... my DW wants me to go to the doctor but I don't know what they can do other than surgery and that is not an option .... thanks in advance.


Premium Level User
Feb 22, 2007
East Ontario, Canada
The link that Nancy posted has the same info that I got at my physiotherapy clinic.
I'm also thinking that your Throwdown walking exercise lately may be contributing to this flare up in your ankle....is there any way that you can switch to swimming which is so much easier on the legs and joints?


Well-known member
Mar 20, 2003
North Alabama
I confess that I don't follow the 'Throwdowns' but when it comes to exercise,
I've found that an Eliptical Exercise machine is easier on the joints than a treadmill or walking on hard surfaces.

I'll have to check out Nancy's reference. If the injury were recent, I would say ICE for the first day or two,
then Heat after that. I like to use Gel Packs that can be put in the freezer or MicroWave depending on the need.
Put a piece of paper towel between the Gel Pack and your bare skin.

'AL Capshaw'


It's funny you should mention this. Today, my right ankle started hurting for no reason, took my shoes off to see if that made a difference. It took 2 advils. Symptoms were burning sensation at the base on the outside of my ankle, entending into the top of my foot. Doctors have told me in the past that a burning pain can be a nerve so I always try advil first to reduce inflammation.

Good luck Cooker, ankle pain is not fun.

R.I.C.E. (info from the net)

The R.I.C.E. Method of Acute Injury Treatment
Rest: If you are injured, stop playing, get medical attention if necessary and rest. Resting an injury is important immediately after injury for two reasons. First, rest is vital to protect the injured muscle, tendon, ligament or other tissue from further injury. Second, your body needs to rest so it has the energy it needs to heal most effectively.
Ice: Use ice bags, cold packs or even a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a thin towel to provide cold to the injured area. An ice massage is another extremely effective way to direct cold to the injured tissue.
Cold provides short-term pain relief. It also limits swelling by reducing blood flow to the injured area. Keep in mind, though, that you should never leave ice on an injury for more than 15-20 minutes at a time. Longer exposure can damage your skin. The best rule is to apply cold compresses for 15 minutes and then leave them off for at least 20 minutes. (Read The Proper Use of ICE).
Compression: Compression helps limit and reduce swelling, which slows down healing. Some people also experience pain relief from compression. An easy way to compress the area of the injury is to wrap an ACE bandage around the swollen part. If you feel throbbing, or if the wrap just feels too tight, remove the bandage and re-wrap the area so the bandage is a little looser.
Elevation: Elevating an injury reduces swelling. It's most effective when the injured area is raised above the level of the heart. For example, if you injure an ankle, try lying on your bed with your foot propped on one or two pillows.
After a day or two of R.I.C.E., many sprains, strains or other injuries will begin to heal. But if your pain or swelling does not decrease after 48 hours, make an appointment to see your primary care physician or go to the emergency room, depending upon the severity of your symptoms.

Once the healing process has begun, very light massage may improve the function of forming scar tissue, cut healing time and reduce the possibility of injury recurrence.

Gentle stretching can be begun once all swelling has subsided. Try to work the entire range of motion of the injured joint or muscle, but be extremely careful not to force a stretch, or you risk re-injury to the area. Keep in mind that a stretch should never cause pain. For proper stretching technique, review Flexibility Exercises.

Heat may be helpful once the injury moves out of the acute phase and swelling and bleeding has stopped. Moist heat will increase blood supply to the damaged area and promote healing.

Finally, after the injury has healed, strengthening exercises can be begun. Start with easy weights and use good form. See Strengthening Exercises.

Philip B

Well-known member
Mar 3, 2007
Casa Grande, Arizona
Cold or Heat

Cold or Heat

For minor injuries, the general rule I've always used (old school athletic training), right or wrong, is to use cold for the first 48 hours followed with heat. For me, it also depends upon the injury. If I've got something that has continued swelling beyond 48 hours, I'll continue with cold.

Personally, if I had something that seemed to be a chronic (frequent) problem, I'd want to check with a specialist and get the problem evaluated.



Well-known member
Aug 29, 2006
Lake Havasu City, AZ
I ditto Philip B's response as well as LucyLu's on RICE Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate. Lately it has been slightly modifed to PRICE, P=Protect.

Latest posts