Eva Longoria Frigida! Ice or Heat on Pain?

According to a tweet on March 12th, @EvaLongoria injured her foot dancing on the set of Desperate Housewives and posted a photo of her foot on ice.  Which brings us to a question that is frequently asked in my NYC podiatry practice - ice or heat?  As in, should I apply ice or heat to a painful area?  Let’s talk about that one a bit.

Ice applied to an acute injury acts as a vasoconstrictor - causing blood vessels to close slightly, thereby reducing swelling and pain.  It’s not going to affect the long term healing, but it will certainly make the area feel better in the short term.  So for an acute injury such as an ankle sprain, foot fracture, bruise, or trauma, apply ice for about 15 minutes at a time.  This can be in any form - bag of ice, ice pack, or even a package of frozen vegetables or orange juice.  Ice also works great for plantar fasciitis (heel pain) or tendonitis.  Many of the patients in my NYC podiatry office like to freeze a bottle of water and then roll a painful heel over it after a long day of walking.

Heat acts to relax tight muscles or tendons and is generally reserved for more chronic aches and pains such as muscle strains and back or neck pains.  I have found that most foot and ankle ailments respond better to cold, rather than heat therapy.  However, as I tell my Manhattan patients, if you are using heat and it feels good, keep on using it as these don’t make a huge qualitative impact on the long term healing.

So Eva, if you get desperate and that bag of ice didn’t quite affect a complete recovery, you can hop over to mymidtown office and we’ll get you back on your feet on Wisteria Lane in no time.

See you in the office.

Dr. Ernest L. Isaacson

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