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Using ice correctly can decrease pain and inflammation and speed up healing on a running injury. Ensure you are icing correctly otherwise you may damage surrounding muscle tissue.
DON'T ice before you run
Numbing a body part before running can block signals to your brain that would tell you to back off. This may cause you to alter your gait, increasing injury risk. Instead apply heat before you run to loosen up tight sore muscles.
DO apply ice immediately after your run
Whether you suffer an acute injury or have a chronic issue, apply ice to the area as soon as you get home. When applied immediately, ice decreases swelling and initiates healing.
DON'T leave it on too long
Don't ice for more than 20 minutes or you'll risk frostbite. If your skin looks red, it's a warning sign you're pushing it. Remove the ice once you feel numbness.
DO leave it on longer enough
Icing less than 10 minutes will cool your skin but has minimal effect on underlying muscle tissue. Ice for 15-20 minutes.
DON'T stop icing after one dayAn injury benefits from ice in the days following the trauma. But
if your symptoms worsen, or the problem just doesn't go away, visit a doctor or physio.
DO continue icing during the day
To maximize the benefits, ice five times a day, with at least 45 minutes in between applications. This keeps tissue te
mperature low to minimize inflammation.
Fill a cardboard coffee cup with water and put in the freezer. When it's frozen tear the cardboard at the top of the cup to expose some of the ice and then massage onto the painful area. When finished put back into the freezer until next time.
Reference: Runners World, by Liz Plosser 1/12/09