For over a decade now I have been preaching that as healthcare providers we need to seriously question the use of ice post acute soft-tissue injuries.

A few years ago, I made a controversial video about this topic and it seems like there’s still a lack of acceptance of the evidence that ICE DOES NOT HELP HEALING. In fact, suppressing inflammation with ice may be harmful as it inhibits the body’s attempt to repair itself.

I now wish to share with you another study that shows that icing muscles post-injury DELAYS HEALING!

This cruel study using mice, involved researchers who used EMS and applied strong eccentric contractions to their leg muscles; strong enough to deliberately cause their partial tear.

Half of the mice were just left alone (the control group) and the other half had tiny ice placed on their tiny torn muscles for 30 minutes 3 times a day for 2 days (This is a typical icing protocol recommended by many healthcare providers).

The researchers investigated the quality of muscle regeneration between the groups of mice two weeks after injury. They determined that skeletal muscle regeneration was delayed as a result of the icing as it prevented the arrival of pro-inflammatory macrophages at the injury site.

 “This study thus provided novel critical factors governing the impairment of muscle regeneration by icing.

– Kawashima et al 2021

The study suggests that perhaps NOT icing muscle injuries may lead to faster recovery.

“…our findings suggest that icing after acute muscle damage by crushing disturbs muscle regeneration…”

– Miazaki et al 2023

Despite growing evidence AGAINST the use of ice, this 2023 paper still concludes with this statement, “Until the evidence unanimously proves otherwise, the culture of icing injuries should remain a staple in sports medicine.” – Kwiecien 2023

I guess some just find it really difficult to let go of outdated models of patient care.

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