Both heat and ice are used to treat injuries, but at different stages—and they aren’t necessarily interchangeable. Ice is used to combat swelling and inflammation in a fresh or relatively recent injury, particularly if soft tissues like muscles, tendons, and ligaments are involved. Heat is best for chronic injuries that have been painful for a while, like a persistently strained muscle or joints with arthritis.
The ice in a cold treatment contracts all the tissues around the injury, temporarily limiting how much fluid leaks into those tissue and discouraging inflammation. Swelling and inflammation get in the way of healing, so limiting them shortly after you hurt yourself can be helpful. However, chronically painful injuries are different. A heat treatment helps muscles and other soft tissues relax, as well as encourage a healthy blood flow in the area, which brings healing.
If you’re struggling with foot pain and you’re not sure how to best care for it, don’t hesitate to get more help. Early treatment is best for your recovery. Just call our experts at Podiatry Associates, P.C. in Castle Pines, Parker, and Cherry Creek, CO, at (303) 805-5156 for an appointment today.