Cold therapy is not just a home remedy but a technique that has been proven medically in order to minimize the inflammation and pain. It is also suitable for athletes who were subjected to major injuries, but also those who have a moderate strain on the muscles and tissues in the feet. Many utilize this form of treatment using ice but you can also utilize cold packs or even cold water.
The ideal way to manage a foot injury that causes mild to moderate swelling is to apply an ice pack for 15-20 minutes at 3 times throughout the day. You can utilize ice cubes placed in a re-sealable bag, cold pack filled with a refrigerant gel or bag of frozen vegetables.
Depending on the method used, it should be wrapped in a thin layer of towel or cloth for comfort and protection against frostbite. Do not apply the ice longer than 20 minutes at a time. Remember that several short treatments are more effective than a long one. For serious injuries, it is recommended to perform cold therapy for 20 minutes with 40 minutes in between each application until medical care can be sought.
After an extended period of engaging in stressful activity, the feet can become swollen and sore. Taking an ice bath is an effective way to minimize the swelling, protect against injury and promote muscle strength.
Many runners submerge themselves in ice water from waist down to manage sore leg muscles. It is important to note that every muscle group including the muscles on all sides of the feet can experience the same deep-muscle and tissue benefits. Nevertheless, this treatment is considered controversial among medical scientists.
How cold works
Cold therapy constricts the blood vessels which inhibit the buildup of fluid that triggers pain and inflammation. It is not advisable to use heat on injuries since it causes an opposite effect.
Using ice on the foot can provide more comfort. Once the ice is removed, the arteries and veins expand, resulting to an increased blood flow to the affected area. This is known to help flush out the by-products of cellular breakdown from the foot.
Other measures to use
The use of ice alone is not beneficial. Cold therapy is highly effective if paired with rest, elevation and compression. Once an individual ends up with a swollen foot, he/she must not use it until the pain and swelling subsides.
After the application of ice, you have to wrap it in a secure manner using an elastic bandage which also helps minimize the swelling. Wrap in a snug manner but not too tight that it disrupts with the flow of blood. The affected foot should be raised higher than the rest of the leg on a chair or pillow. In case these measures could not minimize the swelling within 3 days, or the area becomes numb, hot or tingly, a doctor should be consulted.