A common question that our patients have is when should I use heat vs. ice?
In general, if you have suffered an injury recently, you should ice for the first 72 hours.
Heat or Ice After the First 72 Hours:
Plantar Fasciitis (tendon on the arch of the foot becomes strained): use HEAT
- Ankle: Use ICE
- ACL (thigh-bone): use ICE
- Quad: use ICE
- Hamstring: use ICE
- Hip Bursitis (over the outside of the upper thigh): use ICE
- Low Back Pain: use HEAT
- Tennis Elbow: use ICE
Applying a heating pad for 10 minutes to the affected area prior to stretching will help improve blood flow to the area & improve flexibility. Alternatively, applying ice to the same area afterwards for 10 minutes will help ease soreness & inflammation.
If the pain is due to arthritis, heat will help you stretch out or get moving in the morning. Ice will help prevent inflammation after exercise. Try this exercise for arthritis morning pain:
Courtesy of Kristine T, MSPT from our Physical Therapy Dept.