Icing a running injury is done for several reasons. First of all it will help reduce any swelling that occurs and reduce inflammation. The icing will decrease the blood flow to the affected area which will help reduce the pain. And, just the icing itself will help to numb the pain right away for some instant relief.
You want to make sure that you are getting the ice on the area as soon as you get in from your run. The sooner that you can ice the area, the quicker it will help. Studies have shown that icing really doesn’t help much if you wait 24-48 hours.
When you are icing your injury, move the ice around in a circular motion. You don’t want to let it sit in one spot very long. Basically what you want to do is to have an ice massage over the area. As you are icing, you should keep the area elevated. This will also help keep the swelling down.
Don’t ice the area for more than 15 minutes. You don’t want to ice for too long and possibly cause frostbite. Then, after about an hour, you can begin icing again. You can keep repeating the icing process as long as you allow the area to warm up. Make sure that it is warm again and feeling normal before you start icing again.
My favorite way to ice an area is to put ice cubes in a washcloth and use that for the massage. This also keeps a layer of cloth between the area and the ice. Many runners use ice in Ziploc bags. This works great, also. Another way to have your ice ready is to keep paper cups filled with water and frozen in your freezer. Then you can just peel part of the cut away and use over the injury. And, I’m sure you’ve heard of runners that use packages of frozen vegetables. There’s no need to go out and buy a fancy, expensive ice pack – there are several things that you have around the house that works great.
Icing a running injury is a great way to get back on the roads. Hopefully these tips will help you to do it properly!