Should You Ice or Heat Your Child’s Sports Injury?

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Youth athletes are especially susceptible to pain from sore muscles. They are still growing due to growth plates. These are areas of developing tissue in their bones including legs, forearms, and feet. These are very common body parts used to compete in youth sports such as soccer, basketball, baseball, softball, swimming, football, and lacrosse.

Therefore, as your child may experience significant pain from playing sports, it’s important to know the difference between how to treat it before and after the final point is scored.

Most of us know that ice packs and heating pads are two of the most effective ways to treat a sports injury. So, which one is the right choice for your child’s injury? How long should you use them on your child? The Next Level Wellness team has some information to help you decide:


Heat Treatment

Use heat for troublesome and reoccurring injuries that your child athlete may experience. Heat should be used to help relax and loosen tissue while stimulating blood flow to the affected area. It is important to treat painful zones with heat BEFORE your child participates in his or her sport to help prevent injuries sustained by overuse. Heat should not be used on any swelling, as bleeding within the tissue causes swelling, and heat will just draw more blood to that area.

There are a few ways to effectively apply heat to a troublesome area. We recommend using a heating pad, a microwave pack or just a good old hot wet towel.

Always use heat treatment in moderation and no more than 15-20 minutes per treatment. Never leave heating pads or towels on your child’s body for long periods of time or unattended. You can hurt them worse.


Ice Treatment

Treating a sports injury with ice is best when there is significant swelling. If your child has had an injury within the last couple of days that has began to swell up, you should be icing it regularly for 30 minutes per treatment. Although it is better to begin the treatment as soon as possible after occurrence of the injury, icing a day later will also help to reduce swelling and pain.

Ice packs are pretty easy to make, though keep in mind best practice is to never place ice directly on any child’s injury. You can fill a plastic bag with ice and wrap it in a towel and still reap the benefits of ice treatment. Do not keep ice pack on one area for more than 30 minutes and stop altogether if the injury starts to appear bright pink or red. Don’t use ice packs on a child’s left shoulder if they have a heart condition and don’t use them around the front or side of their neck.



Do Not Use Heat or Cold Packs:

  • Skin in poor condition
  • Skin that lacks sensation
  • Areas with poor circulation
  • If your child has diabetes
  • If your child has an existing infection

If your child continues to experience pain in these areas, its imperative to see a specialist, as it could affect their overall growth and development. As such, weencourage you to take advantage of our Stay F.I.T. Student Athlete special.

Fascial Integrative Treatment, or F.I.T., is an innovative and advanced soft-tissue system.It is a manual hands-on therapy that corrects the dysfunctions that these soft-tissues can undergo. During the F.I.T. process, we will evaluate the problematic area, properly diagnose the condition, treat it and evaluate the surrounding muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, nerves and joints.

Our Stay F.I.T. special for athletes covers all of the treatment above for just $79 ($250 value). Don’t let your young athlete or yourself suffer through nagging injuries.

Our Irvine chiropractic office is located near John Wayne Airport, convenient for people living in Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Tustin, Santa Ana and other surrounding Orange County communities. To learn more about our variety of services or to schedule an appointment, contact us or call 949-263-9003 today.











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