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Martin Foot & Ankle

Should I apply heat or ice to a child’s foot injury?

Heat or ice?Heat or ice for an injury is a question that has prevailed through the ages, but both have their benefits for your child in certain situations.

Cold constricts blood flow by narrowing blood vessels. This makes it an effective tool for helping to reduce inflammation from your child’s foot injury within the first day or so of it occurring. Allowing inflammation to run unabated will increase pain and swelling, which makes it more miserable for your child. A good way to tell if an injury can benefit from ice is whether it feels overly warm to touch. Heat is a sign that inflammation is ongoing.

Heat therapy on the other hand, increases blood flow. It tends to be most effective after inflammation begins to decrease and nutrients can be brought in to help the healing process.

Sometimes, however—and especially with children—you’ll want to go with what feels better for them. If ice continues to keep them happy after a few days, let them continue with it. Just make sure not to expose their skin to either extreme of temperature for too long. For advice on home treatment and pain relief, the doctors at Martin Foot and Ankle can help. Contact our offices in Hanover, Lancaster, Lititz, and York, PA by calling (717) 757-3537.

Dr. Sonam T. Ruit
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