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A 23-year-old female asked:

I have an ankle sprain, why shouldn't heat be used? my foot is freezing and want to warm it up but wasn't sure why heat packs can't be used?

3 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Jack Choueka
Specializes in Orthopedic Surgery
Ice reduces swelling: Initially after an injury the tissues begin to swell, This can cause pain and stiffness. In the first stages after the injury ice is the best way to reduce that swelling
Dr. Hugh Protzel
Podiatry 33 years experience
Ice 24hrs, then heat: Ice is good for the first 24 hours to relieve acute inflammation and swelling. After that, heat will increase circulation and healing. Hope you got an x-ray to be sure its not broken.
Dr. Edward Hellman
Orthopedic Surgery 30 years experience
Increases swelling: Applying heat too soon after an ankle sprain can increase the swelling of the ankle beyond what would normally occur if heat was not used. Ice, however, will help reduce swelling from an ankle sprain when used shortly after it occurs.

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Last updated Aug 28, 2018

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