Good Healthcare Requires Treatment of Your Mind, Body, and Soul

Good Healthcare Requires Treatment of Your Mind, Body, and Soul

Choosing Between Hot And Cold Packs For Your Ankle Pain

by Hugh Larson

From tripping and spraining your ankle to waking up with a random ache, pain in your lower joints can interrupt your daily routine and make it hard to enjoy your favorite activities. Both hot and cold compresses can work wonders for relieving mild and occasional ankle pain. However, each type of compress works best for different situations. Using heat when you should try ice will only result in more ankle pain rather than less. The following guidelines will help you decide which home care method you need depending on the type of pain you're experiencing.

Cold for Acute Injuries

When you experience some kind of injury and need pain relief while waiting for a sprain or strain to heal, try cold compresses. Ice packs will work, but you need to use plenty of insulating fabric between the ice and your skin to prevent frostbite and similar injuries.

Applying cold or cool compresses doesn't just reduce the pain from a twisted ankle. It also brings down the inflammation and swelling, helping your ankle heal faster overall. Stick to just 20 minutes of cold application at a time.

Heat for Chronic Pain

If you've been diagnosed with arthritis, rheumatism, or another chronic joint condition that affects your ankles, try heat instead of cold. Heat also works better for the lingering and long-term pain of ongoing tendinitis and nerve inflammation like sciatica.

Heat relaxes tight muscles and soothes inflamed nerves that often only increase your pain in response to cold. Microwaveable warm packs allow you to apply just the right amount of warmth without risking burns or other damage from an electrical heating pad. Braces are available to hold flexible hot compresses around your ankles so you can move around freely.

Combined Treatment

For stubborn pain lingering after a healed sprain or strain, you may need to combine periods of both hot and cold treatments. Try two minutes of heat first, then a minute of cold compress on the same ankle. Switching between the two increases circulation while reducing pain and inflammation, resulting in maximum relief from ongoing pain.

Short Term Use

Regardless of the treatment you try, don't use hot or cold compresses for more than a week or two at the most. Ankle pain that lasts longer than a few days requires attention from a foot and ankle specialist. Don't risk a serious injury by ignoring the early signs of joint instability or disc degeneration.


About Me

Good Healthcare Requires Treatment of Your Mind, Body, and Soul

I have worked in a supportive role in the medical industry for over 20 years, and I have been amazed at the advances in medicine that have been made. While it is always great to hear about a new medication that helps cure a disease or a new surgical procedure that can help someone live a normal life again after an injury, I have been especially amazed at the research that has shown just how much our physical and mental health are connected. Since I keep on top of all of the amazing medical studies being performed and I know others are too busy to hunt them down themselves, I decided to start a blog to share my favorite health tips for keeping both your mind and body healthy.