It’s the 85th minute, your team is 1-0 down when the ball is headed from your area and falls in to your path. There’s green grass ahead of you, the counter is there, this is it, your chance at glory, equalise and become a hero.
But just as you get in to your stride, that left-back who’s been giving you abuse all game clips at your heels and takes you down in an Ole Gunnar Solskjaer like fashion. On the way down you take a nasty knock to your knee, and as the game finishes and your team loses, you’ve also now got an injury to deal it.
So what are the first steps?
Well, one of the most important things to do before deciding on any treatment for any injury is to assess it, find out just what exactly is wrong.
There are a number of injuries that can be helped by a cold/hot compress or pack, but it’s important to know which is which. Generally, if you’re using a hot or cold pack, you’ll be looking at a minor bumps and bruises that don’t require further medical assistance.
Some however, like breaks, dislocations and concussions require emergency medical treatment. So if you’re ever unsure, visit a doctor or hospital to receive the proper diagnosis and treatment.
For further information on how to decide between hot and cold though, you can visit our blog on the subject.
First, we must evaluate any potential injury.
If Fractured: The first thing to do is check for a fracture. You can apply a cold compress to a broken bone to reduce pain and swelling, however this should only be used while waiting for help from medical professionals and should not be a substitute for treatment.
We’d all love to live in a world where £0.69p hot and cold packs could fix broken bones, but sadly it doesn’t exist! Go to hospital if you find any of the following symptoms:
If Dislocated: After ruling out any fractures, we have to check for dislocations. A dislocation is when one or both of the bones that make up a joint are jolted from their normal position…or location, hence the name. A dislocation will also require medical attention but you can again use a cold compress while waiting for assistance.
Now remember, any of these, get yourself to hospital:
If Concussed: Finally, before activating that ice pack, make sure you’re not concussed. Of course, you’ll often use an cold compress on the head for bumps and bruises but as concussion is a serious injury that requires medical attention, it’s important to rule it out.
The nature of concussion means it’s often hard for the sufferer to check themselves, so have someone else check with you for the following:
Now we’ve figured out what it’s not, let’s take a look at what it is and what you’ll need:
Cold Therapy: Has this injury just happened? Is it swelling up? Is it painful and inflamed? Cold therapy is your best bet here.
Heat Therapy: Heat is good for sore muscles not necessarily associated with any specific injury. It can be used on aching muscles after and also before a sporting activity that usually causes aching muscles in order to loosen and warm them up.
For further information on how to decide between hot and cold, you can visit our blog on the subject.
The time has now come for some application. As we do though, we need to figure out what we’re going to use as a compress, we’ll concentrate on cold:
If using as a cold compress, follow these steps:
Now, you could always throw a towel in the freezer and hope for the best, but here at PhysioRoom.com we like to be at the very tip of the hot and cold therapy spear, so no bags of peas here.
Here’s are a couple of options to cool or heat until your hearts content:
Gel-based hot or cold packs, or pouches, or compresses, whatever term you prefer, are a pouch that contains soft gel that conducts heat or cold.
The PhysioRoom.com Reusable Hot / Cold Gel Pack is the best of both worlds. This versatile 25cm x 17cm mouldable pack can be used as either a hot OR cold pack, meaning you can use it as an ice pack in the early stages of injury and use it as a heat pack down the line to speed up the healing process.
To use a gel pack, simply cool in the refrigerator or freezer is intending to use as a cold pack, or warm in hot water (or microwave) to use it as a heat pack.
Instant packs, be it hot or cold, are pouches that contain a burstable liquid pouch that when burst reacts with the chemicals inside to conducts cold or heat.
The PhysioRoom.com Instant Ice Pack is a 22cm x 14cm pouch is a good example, it can be used any time, anywhere and is perfect for pitchside or when you don’t have access to a freezer or ice.
No pre-planning needed here, just activate the ice pack by squeezing the internal compartment. This starts a chemical reaction that instantly makes the pack cold. The Instant Ice Pack stays cold for 15 to 20 minutes, making it ideal for the early treatment of sports injuries.