Getting injured is very common in sports but, if you couldn’t treat it properly at the correct time, even the minor injuries may become serious. So it is important to know how to apply hot and cold treatments from a registered physiotherapist in case of emergency.

So if you do sports or are interested in knowing some emergency life hacks, this article helps you o understand why we need ice and heat treatments and how they are applied according to the situation. 

Cold Treatment

Used mostly for acute injuries such as pains, swellings, bruises, muscle spasms and pains. It is frequently referred to with R.I.C.E. treatment, which is applied in addition to compression and elevation. 

How It Helps You

  • Ice helps to reduce swelling around the injured area.
  • It reduces bleeding by controlling blood circulation to the injured area.
  • It certainly lowers the metabolic rate and minimizes damage caused to the tissues.
  • It reduces physical pain and inflammation.

When Can You Use Ice?

Soon after you got injured or after performing exercises.

Negative Impacts

Continuing this for a long time results in intensive exposure to cold and damage your body tissues. So it is better if you can get some advice from a registered physiotherapist to sort out that issue.


Can You Directly Put Ice Around The Injured Area?

No. Exposure to extreme cold might damage your tissues. There are several ways that you can apply ice.


1. Ice Packs

Used For – sprains in ankles, swellings, injuries that damage tissues repetitively, pains that occur massively on the body and muscle contractions.


  • Ice pack - crushed or cubed wet ice covered by a plastic bag.
  • Iced vegetables - frozen peas or frozen corn used as an alternative to small ice cubes.
  • Ice packs which can be reused are available for you to buy. You can also buy Cryocuff ice packs which are specially designed for Cryotherapy.

Guidelines – Soon after you got the injury, make sure to use an ice pack within the first 48 hours, for about 20 minutes at one time. Use a towel, elastic bandage or a shrink wrap on your injured area to avoid frostbite.


2. Ice bath (ice whirlpool)

Used For – treating peripheral joint pains and cool down several muscle groups at once.

Application – Fill the bathtub with cold water and ice.

Guidelines – immerse your body for 20-30 minutes in the bathtub and make sure not to have any exposed wound or infections.


3. Ice massage

Used For – localized inflammations such as redness, paining, heating and swelling of the injured area.

Application – the easiest way is to use an ice cup than using an ice cube.

Guidelines – peel off the frozen cup about 1.3 cm and rub the exposed ice section circularly around the injured area for 8-10 minutes at a time.


Avoid using if,

  • You are highly sensitive to cold
  • The injured area is less sensitive
  • The injury follows a nerve
  • Any other uncured wound exists
  • Your physical training has not commenced yet


Heat Treatment

Experts uses heat treatment to relax body tissues and provoke blood circulation to the injured area. It increases the metabolic rate and inflammation and relieves muscle and joint pains.

Negative Impacts

Applying for a long period results in skin burns and swellings.

Ways Of Application

  • Heat Packs
  • Hydrocollator
  • Hot Whirlpool Baths

Avoid Using If, 

  • You are right after the physical training
  • The injured area is less sensitive
  • An uncured wound exists
  • You got an acute injury
  • You are suffering from a fever


These expert tips will hopefully help to sort out your confusion.