Whether to use ice or heat on an injury is one of the most common questions that I get from my patients. The answer isn't as clear-cut as "one is better than the other". To accurately answer that question, you have to understand the purpose of each.
Cold constricts tissues and blood vessels. The purpose of using ice on an injury is to decrease inflammation and in so doing, reducing pain. Conversely, heat dilates tissues and blood vessels. Heat is used to increase the blood volume around an injury to increase the rate of healing. You can see the pros and cons in this comparison.
As confusing as all that information might look, the conclusion is easy enough - for acute injuries use ice, and for chronic injuries use heat. The only reason not to follow that rule, is if you get conflicting advice from a healthcare practitioner.
For more information on calf or hamstring strains, or on the posterior chain, email me directly via the contact page. For specific information on an injury you have, or for treatment, contact one of my clinics directly. You can find that information here.
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Dr Mitch Clark