West Suffolk Physio

To Ice Or Not To Ice?

To ice or not to ice?

Ice is massively used in Physiotherapy when treating injuries from slips and trips to sports related injuries however people often don’t know when they should ice or even how long for. Some may even argue that you should use heat or ice gels instead of a good old fashion ice pack.

These few tips should help you decide whether to ice or not to ice…

  1. Acute injury – within the first 48hours

  2. To reduce pain

  3. To decrease heat around the area

  4. To decrease swelling around the area

  5. After surgery


There are many different ways however the most common two are:

  1. 20min intervals 3-4 times a day over the next 48hours

  2. 10min intervals repeating every 1-2hours over the next 48 hours

With icing it is also finding out what works for you, you may find that you can’t tolerate any longer than 10mins and therefore it would be advisory to complete 10min intervals more frequently throughout the day rather than the full 20mins.


  • DON’T ice over numb skin

  • DON’T ice directly on skin

  • DON’T ice for more than 20mins

The above will put you at risk of ice burns!

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