Cold Pack Treatment - Sports Injury Treatment

Cold pack treatment usually comes in the form of ice packs, which are usually wrapped in towels and applied to the injury; direct contact with skin can cause ice burns so the ice should be wrapped.

Which injuries can be treated with ice?

Ice can be used on a variety of different injuries, but is most effective on muscle strains, sprains and soft tissue damage.

Benefits of ice

Applying ice helps to reduce swelling and inflammation and numbs the area surrounding the injury, which helps to ease pain. Ice also helps to decrease bleeding in the tissues surrounding the injury and reduces the likelihood of muscle spasms.

Using ice packs

Ice should be wrapped in cloth or towelling before being placed onto the skin for an initial period of 5 minutes; if the skin is red or pink after this time, the ice should be taken off. If the skin is normal colour, the ice pack should be placed on the injured area for another 5 or 10 minutes. Ice should generally not be left on the skin for more than 20 minutes as this may cause damage to the surface of the skin. If you do not have a proper ice pack, a bag of frozen peas or wrapped up ice cubes will have a similar effect. Ice packs can be applied every 2 to 3 hours and may also be used in the rehabilitation process.


Ice should not be applied to skin that has been damaged without a plastic bag; this will prevent water getting into the wound. Ice packs should not be used on the left shoulder of a person who suffers with heart problems or on people with diabetes.

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