Injury Management


The use of ice for musculoskeletal injuries has been a key treatment method employed by healthcare providers for many years. The use of ice dates way back to ancient Greece and has been a regular part of injury management since the 1950’s. Today, the application of ice continues to prove to be beneficial in managing soft tissue injuries.

The purpose of this short article is to demonstrate how important the application of ice is to a musculoskeletal injury – either traumatic or exercised induced. It will also show how icing relates to injury prevention and facilitates/speeds recovery from injury and return to sport.

Firstly, a researcher in one paper looked at 17 studies involving nearly 400 people. The individuals endured an ice bath for at least five minutes after exercise. This reduced muscle soreness by 20 percent compared to those who simply rested [1]. Cold packs have their own success story, reducing blood flow in the muscles by 50 percent after 10 minutes of ice-time [2].

Another study has shown that the application of cold is the most effective immediately after the injury, or within the first 72 hours. Hocutt found that patients with grade 3 ankle sprains that were treated with ice in the first day returned to functional activities such as running and jumping after 6 days, whereas those treated on the second day went 11 days before they could run or jump. Those that were treated with heat in the first day had a recovery time of 14.8 days [3].

As seen in the Hocutt study, heat may not improve recovery. An additional study that also found that when applying heat to muscles after exercise it failed to prevent delayed onset muscular soreness (DOMS) [4].

Please call your Chiropractor at AHS on 9948 2826 or visit our clinic at 9/470 Sydney Rd in Balgowlah servicing the surrounding suburbs of Allambie, Balgowlah Heights, Seaforth, Fairlight and Manly on the Northern Beaches.


  1. Cold-water immersion (cryotherapy) for preventing and treating muscle soreness after exercise. Bleakley, C., McDonough, S., Gardner, E., et al. Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Ulster, Antrim, UK. Cochrane Database of Systematic Review, 2012 Feb 15;2
  2. Cold therapy of athletic injuries. Thorsson, O. Kliniskt fysiologiska laboratoriet, Universitessjukhuset MAS, Malmö. Lakartidningen, 2001 Mar 28;98(13):1512-3.
  3. Hocutt JE, et al (1982): Cryo-therapy in ankle sprains, Am j Sports Med 10:316
  4. Effects of deep heat as a preventative mechanism on delayed onset muscle soreness. Brock Symons, T., Clasey, J.L., Gater, D.R., et al. Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 2004 Feb;18(1):155-61