Apr 02 2010
Last newsletter I raised the question of ice vs. heat for martial arts injuries.
When I was younger and sparring all the time it seemed I always had several on-going injuries. Jammed fingers and toes were my specialty, but my shins took a beating as well.
Let me say that, being younger, I didn’t really treat my injuries at all, other than maybe to tape my fingers or toes together to prevent making it worse when I sparred. If I really thought I had something worth doing something about (one time my wife wanted me to go to the hospital to have my wedding ring cut off because my finger was purple and swollen, or some such thing), I would take an aspirin, ice the injury, and elevate it. I would hold the ice on tight for compression. This is the standard RICE formula – rest, ice, compression, elevation.
That’s still the conventional treatment. However, the Journal of Orthopedic Science, 12: 74-82, 2007, sites a Japanese study in which heat was found to promote healing by encouraging formation of cells that fuse to the injured cells and add new tissue, thus speeding recovery.
Next time I get something worth treating, I may try ice at first for pain and swelling, then heat just to see how it feels/works.
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