When you're injured, ice is like gold. In fact, it is an essential treatment for most sports injuries. It is one of the key ways to reduce the inflammation that occurs when you have some type of muscle tear, tendonitis, sprain or strain.
There are so many ways to ice an injury. Over the years, I think that I have used ice more on my body than in drinks. Here are a few of my tricks.
The Bucket Way
Fill a bucket with ice and water. Plunge the injured area into the ice-cold water. Hang in there for 2 minutes and the initial chilly sensation will fade into a numbing feeling. Soak for at least 15 minutes, but never more than 20 minutes. An added bonus is that the added water pressure will also compress the area, which is another excellent way to treat sports injuries.
My favorite is the frozen peas method. Simply place a bag of frozen vegetables on the injured area. The tiny vegetables are very flexible and wrap around the injury quite well. The choice of veggies is up to you, but be sure that if you use a bag more than once, don't prepare those for dinner.
This is great for the feet, but I have seen people use it on their legs as well. Simply place a can of frozen juice concentrate on the ground and roll your foot over it. This can help soothe plantar faciitis and other injuries to the arch and heel.
Dixie Cup Version
If the injured area is small, fill small paper cups with water and freeze them. Massage the injured area with the cup by peeling back the top of the cup as the ice melts. The added pressure of your application can also be a good way to enhance the healing process.
You can make your own flexible, frozen gel pack just like they use in physical therapy - by filling a freezer bag with one part rubbing alcohol and three parts water. Seal the bag and put it into another sealed bag to prevent leaking. Freeze, use and re-use. Repeat. The slushy compound can be molded to fit your injury.
If you're traveling, carry a few heavy-duty freezer bags with you. Airlines, fast food restaurants and hotels will always fill your bag with ice. You might as well pack the plastic wrap too! It will hold your ice pack in place and provide compression to the injury. However, if it's a foot injury, a big sock works fine, and a shoulder can be taken care of with a tight t-shirt.
No excuses. Ice. Ice. Ice.