> Generally correct IMHO. Dan's explanation of the concept of the mechanism
> of the use of ice runs counter to my understanding of human physiology.
> Increased *** flow to an injury does promote healing, but also increases
> swelling. Ice application *decreases* *** flow by constricting
> capillaries in the area of inflammation.
Cold does flush out the *** in the short term (a few minutes), and
thereafter as the temperature resumes, you get a new rush of fresh ***, at
least that is what I remember when studying this awhile back.
That's why you just apply cold for just a couple of minutes, creating a
tidal action of flushing out and refreshing with a new supply. Heat can
have the same effect, as does the combination of cold/hot.
>After about 48 hours, the inflammation from the acute injury begins to
>subside, ice becomes less useful and at that point heat may be of some
>benefit by increasing *** flow with less risk of increasing the swelling.
IMO, it's not about decreasing the swelling -- that's a sign that the body
is focusing resources on the injury -- the primary goal is promoting the
most rapid healing. I've read several studies which show that
anti-inflammatories slow some types of healing, so I avoid them unless the
pain is severe enough to cause stress (which introduces cortisol and other
hormones which can impair healing). IMO, ice, by flushing out the area
(maybe removing the phagocytes filled to the brim with detritus), and
letting a fresh supply come back in, helps the body heal faster.
I have not noticed that it ice stops working after 48 hours. Although most
injuries I've had have been healed pretty much within 2-7 days, with the
exception of a tear near the upper tendon of a hamstring -- that took a few
weeks. Ultrasound and heat worked well for that.
I strained my ankle on Thursday's run (a mild sprain, with swelling). I
could hardly walk on Friday morning, and there was noticable swelling and
yellowish discoloration in the area. I took Friday off from running. I
iced many times, and was able to run an easy 10 miles today (Saturday), and
my ankle feels fine walking around the house and going up and down stairs as
I write this. And I'm no spring chicken at age 55.
> Note, however, that swelling from fractures tends to follow a more
> prolonged course because healing of bones is slower that soft tissue
> Elevation is key. Ice, heat, compression are secondary and are less
Elevation is another way to promote good circulation. I would use Ice,
heat, and elevation if I had a healing fracture.
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