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How long to use ice?

June 8, 2016


How long do I keep the ice on when I'm icing?

This question is asked a lot in the PT clinic.  Most physical therapists will keep ice on about 10 to 15 minutes.  But why?  Is there a way that you can tell when your body is ready to shed the ice?

There is.

In PT, we love to use acronyms to remember stuff.  R.I.C.E.  P.O.L.I.C.E.  F.O.S.

And to remember when to take the ice off when your cooling down your injury, just remember C.B.A.N.  This stands for cold, burning, aching, and numb, and it's the symptoms that you should feel  when icing an injury.

Check it out:  How Long Should Ice Be Applied?

First you'll feel cold, then a burning sensation.  Then the area you are icing will ache, and finally, you'll feel numb.

When you get to the numb part, take the ice off.  Easy peasy.

(Remember to check in with your doctor or PT before using ice for any injury.)


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