How long to ice an injury | Norton Healthcare Louisville, Ky.

How long to ice an injury

Start by applying ice for 15 to 20 minutes. Allow 30 to 40 minutes between each time you ice your injury.

How long to ice an injury depends on when you were injured and the severity of the injury.

If swelling and inflammation last more than 48 hours, you may have a more serious injury. Do not ignore it. If you are experiencing continued tenderness, inflammation or redness, it’s time to see a health care provider.

If you think you may have broken a bone, you’ll want to see a health care provider.

Ignoring joint pain can lead to serious wear and tear on your body. Catching your joint pain early can help prevent long-term effects on your joint health. Your pain also may be signaling an underlying condition, like arthritis.

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“Joint pain is an indicator of your body experiencing a high level of external stress, said Robin G. Curry, M.D., orthopedic and sports medicine specialist with Norton Orthopedic Institute and Norton Sports Health. “Ignoring your pain may have serious effects on your mobility long term.”

How long to ice an injury

Start by applying ice for 15 to 20 minutes. Do not ice for more than 20 minutes at a time. Over-icing can lead to stiffness and poor circulation. Allow 30 to 40 minutes between each time you ice your injury.

Use the RICE method for home treatments on injured joints.

  • R Do not put pressure on your injury. Avoid motions that jostle or irritate the affected area. This step is essential in aiding a speedy recovery.
  • Ice for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, leaving ice off for 30 to 40 minutes in between. Icing can help with pain management and mobility.
  • C Wrap your injury with a towel or bandage to encourage the swelling to go down. Avoiding excess swelling can reduce recovery time.
  • Elevate your injured joint. This can help reduce throbbing and swelling.

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