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The Use of Ice in the Management of sports injury

The Use of Ice in the Management of sports injury

The application of ice to any soft tissue injury is accepted as good and successful clinical practice. However despite its widespread use there is still controversy over the best protocol for its use; how long to apply the ice and how often are just two of the many variables.

For the first time researchers in Northern Ireland have conducted a controlled experiment that compares two different icing protocols and reported their findings in the “British Journal of Sports Medicine”. The researchers split their treatment groups into the following protocols and used these regimes for acute ankle sprains:

a) Continuous: 20 mins of continuous ice treatment every 2 hours for 72 hours

b) Intermittent: 10 mins of icing, 10 mins off, 10 mins icing, every 2 hours for 72 hours

The study concluded that intermittent icing of a mild/moderate ankle sprain significantly reduced the level of subjective pain on activity one week after injury, compared to the continuous protocol.

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