Icing – No Muss No Fuss

InjuredWomanRunningSMWhat is best way to ice an injury? Homemade ice packs work just as well as commercially available ones. However, the often-recommended bag of frozen vegetables loses its effectiveness too quickly.  Not recommended.

Also, other family members may not want to eat the vegetables afterwards. More than one runner’s child has exclaimed: “Uugghh, they touched your sweat. I’m not eating them.” Convincing most kids to eat their veggies can be tough enough.

To make my two favourite homemade icing devices that I keep handy in the freezer:

  1. Take a Styrofoam cup, fill it with cold water and freeze it. When you require ice, peel back the top half of the cup, leaving the bottom half to insulate your fingers when you use it treat the injured area. Gently move the ice cup in either a back and forth or circular motion over the injury site, thereby giving you an effective ice massage. This method is especially effective when the treatment area is smaller than the diameter of the cup. Keep several frozen cups on hand because each one will be good for only two or three applications. Good at home or at the office.
  2. To treat larger surface areas, take a large heavy duty Ziploc (or similar) freezer bag. Fill it with four parts ice cubes or crushed ice to one part rubbing alcohol. The rubbing alcohol will lower the freezing point of the ice so that the contents of your ice pack will not freeze into a solid iceberg and can be reused multiple times.

Two words of caution:

  1. In order to prevent frostbite, do not allow the ice to sit on your skin without a layer of protection. Either move it continuously (see #1 above) or place a thin towel between the ice and your skin.
  2. If you are dating a non-runner, he/she may check out your freezer in the mistaken belief that you can tell a lot about a person by the contents. My wife-to-be had second thoughts about our relationship when she opened my freezer for the first time. Good thing I had some chicken, fish and frozen veggies there too.

When do you ice an injury or potential injury? At the first sign of discomfort or pain? When it’s an official injury?

© 2013 Savvy Runner Inc.

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One Response to Icing – No Muss No Fuss
  1. Sara
    September 16, 2013 | 3:31 am

    I like to use a bag of unpopped popcorn that I have kept in my freezer. It stays cold longer than vegetables and doesn’t make a mess as it warms up.

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