To heat or not to heat? That is the question we often face when we injure ourselves or experience pain in our feet or ankles. Both heat and cold can have beneficial effects such as reducing swelling or relieving pain, but not every kind of injury should be heated and not every pain should have you reaching into your freezer for a bag of frozen peas.
The type of foot or ankle injury you have will determine which direction you should take. Here is a handy guide to help you to decide whether to apply heat or apply cold:
Keep It Cold
Injuries such as an ankle, muscle, or joint sprain involves tissue damage as well as inflammation. The inflammation and swelling is a result of damage to blood vessels at and around the injury area. You’ll want to decrease the blood flow through those inflamed vessels to minimize and reduce that swelling, and applying cold gets the job done. Cold and ice can quickly constrict the blood vessels in your skin and underlying tissues, which decreases blood flow. Read More