Hot or Cold? Our Foot Health Centre in Calgary Weighs in on Proper Injury Treatment
Whether you are dealing with a sprained ankle or sore tendon, ensuring the right treatment at home can make all the difference. You can safely treat everything from a pulled muscle to random bouts of arthritis using ice packs or heating pads, and these at-home remedies are effective, affordable, and accessible.
However, the decision between hot and cold is not always easy. Sometimes a treatment requires both, while other times using heat on an injury can make it worse, or cold on the injury exacerbates the issue. To accurately identify which treatment is best, you must understand how each works.
Naturally, a serious injury should be assessed at your trusted foot health centre in Calgary to receive proper diagnosis and treatment.
When Does Heat Therapy Make Sense?
The purpose of heat therapy is to boost blood circulation to the area accelerated by an increase in temperature. Doing so can decrease discomfort and allow your sore muscles to regain some flexibility. The heat may also help relax and soothe muscles so that damaged tissues can heal properly.
A few aspects to consider for heat therapy:
• Two Types of Heat Therapy: Dry heat uses heating pads or a dry heating pack. Moist heat therapy consists of steamed towels or a hot bath. Sometimes moist heat is more effective than dry, because it requires less time.
• Area of Treatment: Heat therapy can be used locally (directly over the injury), regionally (treating the injury and surrounding area), or applied to the entire body. Regional treatment is best utilized for widespread stiffness.
• When Heat is Inappropriate: Heat therapy should not be used if there is bruising or swelling at the injury. Also, open wounds cannot be treated with heat. Pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes, deep vein thrombosis, and vascular diseases could create high-risk complications with heat therapy.
When is Cold Therapy the Right Choice?
Cold therapy is professionally referred to as “cryotherapy.” Instead of increasing blood flow, a cold therapy decreases blood flow to the affected area. The result is a reduction in inflammation and swelling, which means less pain too.
Here is what you need to know about cold therapy:
• Multiple Ways to Apply: Cold therapy can be administered through an ice pack, coolant spray, ice bath or cold massage.
• When Cold Therapy is Inappropriate: If you have sensory disorders, never use cold therapy. You may damage tissues and nerves without realizing you are doing so. Also, stiff muscles and joints will not improve through cold therapy, and individuals suffering from poor circulation should never use cold therapy.
Final Verdict: Treatment Depends on the Injury
Cold therapy is your go-to treatment choice when you have swelling that causes pain, or you need to reduce nerve activity. Heat treatment is recommended to help reduce stiffness and pain.
When cold and heat therapy do not seem to be working or providing relief, it is best to visit a foot health centre in Calgary. The experienced professionals at Dalhousie Station Foot Clinic can offer multiple treatment options, including shockwave therapy to help heal you on the cellular level.
Call us today at to schedule an appointment at our foot health centre in Calgary. You can also contact us online with any of your questions and we will get back to you shortly.