|Twitter Ice Advice for Ankle Sprains
By Michael Dorausch, DC
Ankle sprains, they are not fun, yet nearly everyone of us has experienced them at one time or another. Being a chiropractor, questions about joint sprains like ankle injuries is something I experience on a daily basis. Having an office so close to the beach, running in the sand and playing volleyball (also in the sand) are two of the most common sports related to ankle sprains I see in my chiropractic office. "Should I put ice on it or heat?" Is the question I get asked by nearly everyone with a sprain. Today out of curiosity, I thought I would ask That question on Twitter (Follow Me Here).
It was a simple question. I tweeted "Help! Fresh Ankle Sprain. Heat or Ice?" The screenshot to the left shows a sampling of people that responded moments later to my question (my apologies to those who thought I had sprained my ankle, question was a bit misleading). From the results received, the consensus was to go with ice when a fresh ankle sprain occurs. Calie Waterhouse tweeted @chiropractic Ice is best :(, Matt Blancarte (Co-Founder of Unique Blog Designs) tweeted ice, followed by that is, unless you want it to swell up like crazy lol. Editor of Los Angeles lalawag.com, Laurie Percival tweeted I've always been told ice first then heat. A tweet from jeff419 (Jeff Henderson at Adept Marketing Concepts) suggested neither heat nor ice. While I liked Jeff's answer the most, tequila LOL, we can't be going recommending alcoholic products in the health-care setting. Maybe what Jeff meant to say was that mixing ice with alcohol helps it to last longer. Yeah, that's gotta be it.
I'm a big fan of ice when initial swelling from injuries sets in. We don't use ice in our chiropractic practice, but I've recommended patients keep ice packs in their freezers for cases such as acute ankle sprains and other musculoskeletal aches and pains. Not like any of us predict these events to happen, so it's best to have at least one ice pack in the freezer at all times (my home freezer is like an orthopedic clinic with about a dozen different sized ice packs in it).
I've used all sorts of ice packs. I've done the frozen peas thing, I've done the crushed up cubes of ice, and I've done the chemical gel packs that you smash to initiate cooling. The best ice pack I've come across so far is a product called First Ice. The very cool and unique thing about this product is when cooled, instead of ice, you get snow. The main reason I like it so much is that I find it's far easier to mold around joints like ankles, knees and elbows.
First+Ice pack before freezing
Before placing in the freezer, the First+Ice ice pack looks like thousands of little silicone balls inside plastic packaging. When put in the freezer, the clear beads transform into a bag of snow. Now if you're snowboarding, you may already have plenty of snow available to put on a sprained ankle, but here at the beach, getting snow from anywhere other than the freezer is an unlikely possibility.
In the past, I used to use a gel pack in a blue plastic casing, until one of them busted open and leaked sticky chemicals all over my carpet. After that I started looking for an alternative. The First Ice product is available in pharmacies like Walgreen's and CVS, and I believe anyone can order them online as well. Remember, according to the experts on Twitter, ice is the way to go when spraining in ankle. They are a smart bunch!