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Jim Maxka, DPM

Hanover (717) 524-1034


 

When to Use Heat or Ice to Reduce Pain

Tuesday, 03 May 2022 00:00

It is common for many people to reach for either an ice pack or a heating pad when they experience minor toe, foot or ankle pain. Heat and ice do frequently work to relieve discomfort, but knowing which one to use can be confusing. The first thing to know is that heat causes blood vessels to open (dilate), and ice causes them to constrict. Heat brings more blood to the injured area, helping to ease pain, spasm and stiffness. It is usually recommended for aching muscles, cramps or stiffness. A heat compress should not be overly hot, or it can burn the skin. A cloth or towel between the compress and the skin is suggested. On the other hand, it is not a good idea to use heat on a new injury, because it can add to any bleeding under the skin. Ice is more often used immediately after an injury to reduce pain, swelling and bruising, and to help numb the area. It is wise to place a cloth or towel between the ice pack and the skin and to leave the ice pack on for no longer than 30 minutes. After a severe ankle injury, especially if you think you may have torn a ligament or broken a bone, it is suggested that you visit a podiatrist immediately for examination, diagnosis and treatment. 

Wound care is an important part in dealing with diabetes. If you have diabetes and a foot wound or would like more information about wound care for diabetics, consult with Dr. Jim Maxka from South Penn Foot & Ankle Associates. Our doctor will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.

What Is Wound Care?

Wound care is the practice of taking proper care of a wound. This can range from the smallest to the largest of wounds. While everyone can benefit from proper wound care, it is much more important for diabetics. Diabetics often suffer from poor blood circulation which causes wounds to heal much slower than they would in a non-diabetic. 

What Is the Importance of Wound Care?

While it may not seem apparent with small ulcers on the foot, for diabetics, any size ulcer can become infected. Diabetics often also suffer from neuropathy, or nerve loss. This means they might not even feel when they have an ulcer on their foot. If the wound becomes severely infected, amputation may be necessary. Therefore, it is of the upmost importance to properly care for any and all foot wounds.

How to Care for Wounds

The best way to care for foot wounds is to prevent them. For diabetics, this means daily inspections of the feet for any signs of abnormalities or ulcers. It is also recommended to see a podiatrist several times a year for a foot inspection. If you do have an ulcer, run the wound under water to clear dirt from the wound; then apply antibiotic ointment to the wound and cover with a bandage. Bandages should be changed daily and keeping pressure off the wound is smart. It is advised to see a podiatrist, who can keep an eye on it.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Hanover, PA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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