Ice Vs Heat: Which Is Best For Injury Recovery?

Sports therapist Maidenhead - Ice recovery

There’s nothing worse than sustaining an injury of some kind and not feeling in peak physical condition. Struggling to carry out everyday activities can be incredibly frustrating, but there is a lot you can do to help speed up recovery times, depending on the nature of the sports injury.

Ice and heat are both very effective ways to help but it can be difficult deciding which one is the most appropriate form of treatment.

When you use ice on an injury, you’re aiming to reduce inflammation and swelling, which is why ice is particularly useful for acute injuries that have occurred suddenly and without warning… so if you’ve just sustained a nasty sprain, for example, get the ice packs on it as soon as you can. 

However, you can also use ice to help with injuries related to overuse as well, including bursitis, tendonitis and so on. If you are using ice packs, make sure you wrap them in a cloth barrier before applying to the affected area and keep them in place for no longer than 20 minutes.

Heat treatments, meanwhile, can be more effective for chronic conditions, such as old muscle strains and tears, and arthritis. 

Heat works by helping your tissues to relax and encouraging blood flow to the injured parts of your body. If you’re particularly active and know you have an injury, you can help ease yourself into your activity by applying heat prior to exercise.

Always make sure that heat is applied at moderate temperatures, however, as you don’t want to cause yourself any further discomfort. Also avoid using heat on any areas that are swollen, or any skin that is damaged or broken.


If you’re still unsure as to which would be most appropriate for you and your specific injuries, get in touch with us and we’ll be able to help you work out which would be best.

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