By Linzay Logan
Injuries are an inconvenience that almost every runner experiences one time or another. Once we are limping in pain from a hurt knee or ankle the single best way to get back out there is ice—simple, old-school frozen water. Icing as soon as you feel an ache or pain is your best line of defense against the small ache turning into a major problem. Icing helps decrease inflammation and can help in reducing pain.
Deciding where your injury sits on the injury spectrum of whether it is treatable by ice or if it is serious enough to seek professional help can be difficult. Of course, if things don’t improve after icing and the pain is intense enough to ruin your day it is time to call the doctor or see a sports physical therapist. But for your everyday running aches and pains try these icing tips:
- Use a slightly melted ice pack, ice cubes or frozen peas so the ice can mold around the injured area.
- Apply the ice for 20 minutes and then repeat after an hour or two at least five times a day, suggests Kelly Starrett, Doctor of Physical Therapy and founder of San Francisco Cross Fit. Ice twice a day and you only get a “C” grade, scorns Starrett.
- Place a paper towel in between your body and the ice if the cold is too cold to bear.
- Ice as soon as you can after a run or as soon as you feel the pain coming on
- Taking a full ice bath can be helpful for overall muscle soreness as well. Simply sit in a bath of water and ice.
- Massaging with ice gives an additive affect. For foot aches or plantar fasciitis freeze a water bottle and roll your foot over the frozen bottle like a massage. For other aches and pains simple massage the injured area with an ice cube.
Linzay Logan is the copy editor for Competitor magazine and cares about punctuation probably a little too much. She particularly loves to avoid commas as well as add exclamation points whenever she can get away with it! She also loves to run marathons and half-marathons—probably a little too much. Don’t let her small size fool you; she’ll still try to outrun you anytime. Even though chances are she probably can’t. Have a question or comment for Linzay? Email her at Llogan@competitorgroup.com.