Atlantic Provinces Sports Therapy Service
"Helping keep athletes safe on the field of play and beyond"
If you have questions that you would like answered, feel free to drop us a line here and we would be happy to answer your question if we can.
Is it better to use ice or heat immediately after an injury?
The general rule of thumb is to apply ice unless the individual has a known allergy or condition (e.g. Raynauds phenomenon). Ice helps to slow down the bleeding and minimizes other complications like increased swelling or bruising. Although heat feels better initially, it won’t the next day. We are often asked how long to apply ice, and the answer usually is, it depends. When applying ice always follow CBANs to determine how long to keep the ice on for.
Cold: You will feel the cold from the ice initially and can be usually felt immediately.
Burning: A burning sensation is generally felt about 1 minute after the ice application depending on the injured structure (e.g. ankle versus thigh)
Aching: Sometimes the icing experience will alternate between burning and aching. This is generally the longest part of the icing period and can last anywhere from 5-15 minutes depending on the injured structure.
Numbness: When it is numb, take it off. Leaving it on for any longer risks frostbite. Don’t just follow a time to ice, listen to your body, it is giving you the best possible advice.
How long does a “tape job” last?
Research indicates that taping an ankle provides support for approximately 20 minutes. However, that is dependent upon a lot of factors: the person taping the joint, how sweaty the person is after having the tape on, whether underwrap is used etc. The purpose of the “tape job” doesn’t stop at just providing support. It also works neurologically but stimulating sensors in the skin. By touching the skin, the muscles are “excited” and will respond quicker. Therefore, simply having the tape in place is a protective factor. However, a poorly constructed tape job can also be detrimental and may in fact cause or risk more damage if the mechanics of the tape are not understood. Having an experienced “taper” goes a long way in ensuring the joint is protected.
I fell on my bum playing and I have a headache. Should I continue to play?
Concussions are receiving much more media attention lately and people are more aware about the problems associated with concussions then ever before. The brain is like jello in a hard bowl. When you wiggle the jello, it slams up against the bowl. If this jello were the brain, bruising may occur and depending on the area hit, different symptoms may occur. Unfortunately with a bruised brain, which is what a concussion is, time is the only thing that can help the bruise. Even though you think it might be “just a headache”, it is important that the bruise doesn’t get worse with it slamming up against the hard skull again. Let nature do its job. If you have a concussion, you should always get it evaluated by a medical professional before returning to play. A qualified medical person will evaluate the concussion and determine when it is right for you to return to play.
**These recommendations are guidelines only. APATA is not responsible for any misinformation or misinterpretation of these FAQ. These are guidelines and can never replace a qualified opinion. Be sure to check with your health care provider for any issues related to your body. It is your body, take care of it!