Should you Ice after an Injury?


So you just hurt yourself, now what do you do? I’m sure you have heard that you should ice immediately after an injury, right?  Is this good advice?

Before we can answer this question, we need to go over mechanisms and theories of icing

  1. Icing is believed to decrease inflammation
  2. Some aspects of the inflammatory response are beneficial. (speeding up healing)
  3. Some aspects of the inflammatory response are negative.  (damage to healthy cells and white blood cells)
  4. Icing is thought to decrease pain

Lucky for us, this topic has been extensively researched. Here is what they found:

  1. Ice is a cheap and effective way to decrease pain after an injury.
  2. We are unsure if the positive effects of decreasing inflammation after an injury outweigh the negative effects.
  3. In the research performed, ice has been shown to decrease inflammation in rats but not humans.

So what does this mean?

This means that we really don’t know if icing has a positive or negative effect on injury healing.  On top of that, ice isn’t effective in decreasing inflammation in humans, so it doesn’t really matter anyways. But, it is a cheap and effective way to decrease pain after an injury. So go right ahead and ice if you please!  Just make sure not to ice too long that you are causing further damage. 

If you want some specific guidance on how to get out of pain after an injury and how to get back in the gym, on the trails, or on the field, give us a call today!

author avatar
Brady Hoffmann
As an active individual, staying healthy and injury-free is important to you. You make time for your workouts and training because it helps you focus, spend time with yourself, and work toward your goals.

Brady Hoffmann DPT, ATC

Owner and Founder of UpSlope PT

We Help Athletes and Active Adults Quickly Recover From Pain Or Injury So They Can Stay Active And Get Back To What They Love To Do.