We’ve all had injuries, either from some sports mishap or when you get tangled in the dog’s leash and fall over. What’s the first thing you do? Reach for the ice. We’ve always known (or thought, anyway) that icing that sprained ankle or swollen hand would be helpful to decrease pain and swelling after the injury. After all, putting ice on restricts blood flow to the area, which helps to numb the pain and keep any swelling under control. Were we wrong all along?
Research on how effective ice is following injury is spotty at best. A 2012 study in The British Journal of Sports Medicine determined that there were no studies that showed the effectiveness of icing after acute injuries. In fact, a 2013 study from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed that icing actually delayed recovery of muscle damage.