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Ice first, or stretch first?

Posted by Nancy S. on 12/20/99 at 00:00 (013935)

I seem to have read conflicting recommendations on the order in which icing and stretching should be done -- possibly here, but definitely in other sites I have checked out. I have been stretching (mildly) my foot before getting out of bed, while my foot is warm. Then once I'm on my feet (in Birkenstocks), I do the lean-against-the-wall calf stretches. Then I ice for 10 minutes. Is this the proper order? One site I read said always to stretch AFTER icing, to bring blood circulation to the area. But I thought that icing does bring blood to the area, as it tries to warm up your foot after the cold. I'd appreciate your thoughts. Thanks. -- Nancy S.

Re: Ice first, or stretch first?-- a layperson's view

alan k on 12/20/99 at 00:00 (013936)

I believe that because of the re-injury of the fascia upon walking, especially in the morning, it is wise to warm up first.

To get blood flowing, you could do toe crunches and ankle rolls, and best of all, get down on your seat (without walking) and do sit-ups till you are breathing hard. This will guarantee blood flow and you don't have to guess about the ice.

Icing over fifteen minutes, I have been told, will bring blood flow and heat to the area. I was told not to ice that long in order to perserve the cooling, anti-inflammatory effect.

At my physiscal therapy, they ALWAYS gave me heating pads before exersize and treatment, ice at the end.

I recommend crawling every morning to the bath tub and soaking the feet in hot water (or using a heating pad which is not as good), then doing the stretching and then walking.

If you find that stretching clearly helps, then definitely look into getting night splints.


alan k


Re: Ice first, or stretch first?-- a layperson's view

Nancy S. on 12/20/99 at 00:00 (013964)

Thanks Alan. I THOUGHT icing as a finish would be better but needed confirmation. I am finding stretching helpful in general, tho today has not been a good day pain-wise. I do wear a night splint, have since July -- but it did nothing until I started stretching before getting out of bed and then stepping right into Birkenstocks (learned from this site, natch). My morning pain has gone from 10 to about 2. Still working on the rest of the day . . . Thanks for the input. I'm going to try the hot bath you recommend in the morning. Sounds good.

Re: Ice first, or stretch first?-- a layperson's view

alan k on 12/20/99 at 00:00 (013936)

I believe that because of the re-injury of the fascia upon walking, especially in the morning, it is wise to warm up first.

To get blood flowing, you could do toe crunches and ankle rolls, and best of all, get down on your seat (without walking) and do sit-ups till you are breathing hard. This will guarantee blood flow and you don't have to guess about the ice.

Icing over fifteen minutes, I have been told, will bring blood flow and heat to the area. I was told not to ice that long in order to perserve the cooling, anti-inflammatory effect.

At my physiscal therapy, they ALWAYS gave me heating pads before exersize and treatment, ice at the end.

I recommend crawling every morning to the bath tub and soaking the feet in hot water (or using a heating pad which is not as good), then doing the stretching and then walking.

If you find that stretching clearly helps, then definitely look into getting night splints.


alan k


Re: Ice first, or stretch first?-- a layperson's view

Nancy S. on 12/20/99 at 00:00 (013964)

Thanks Alan. I THOUGHT icing as a finish would be better but needed confirmation. I am finding stretching helpful in general, tho today has not been a good day pain-wise. I do wear a night splint, have since July -- but it did nothing until I started stretching before getting out of bed and then stepping right into Birkenstocks (learned from this site, natch). My morning pain has gone from 10 to about 2. Still working on the rest of the day . . . Thanks for the input. I'm going to try the hot bath you recommend in the morning. Sounds good.