It's No Longer Cool to ICE

June 16, 2016 | John Paul Catanzaro

A growing amount of evidence shows that icing is not so cool for injury management. There’s no doubt that icing reduces pain, but does it actually facilitate healing? Let’s review some literature on the topic:

Why Ice Delays Recovery

De-Iced: The End of the Cold War

Should athletes return to sport after applying ice? A systematic review of the effect of local cooling on functional performance.

Feasibility and preliminary effectiveness of ice therapy in patients with an acute tear in the gastrocnemius muscle: a pilot randomized controlled trial

Cooling an acute muscle injury: can basic scientific theory translate into the clinical setting?

Ice and modern sports physiotherapy: still cool?

Influence of icing on muscle regeneration after crush injury to skeletal muscles in rats

Icing at Early Stage Depresses Skeletal Muscle Regeneration

Topical Cooling (Icing) Delays Recovery From Eccentric Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage

Icing after skeletal muscle injury decreases M1 macrophage accumulation and TNF-α expression during the early phase of muscle regeneration in rats

Take-Home Message: It’s time to rethink the “rest it and ice it” approach whenever an injury occurs. This knee-jerk reaction may not be cool after all. Next time you’re faced with an injury don’t do RICE, do METH instead!