"Mirkin shook the sports medicine world on March 16, 2014, when he posted an article on his website admitting that he’d been wrong all along, particularly about the use of ice for treating injuries."" Gary Reinl, a lanky fellow never without running shoes and a ballcap atop his head of wispy grey hair, assumes the role of this cold war’s General Patton. Reinl’s book, Iced! The Illusionary Treatment Option, serves as the battle plan for the legions of sports medicine practitioners who have banded together against the use of ice as a recovery tool for athletes and Average Joes alike."
WHAT DOES ICE ACTUALLY DO:
" “One, ice delays recovery. Two, ice increases swelling. Three, ice causes additional damage. Four, ice shuts off the signals that alert you to harmful movement. And five, most importantly, it provides false hope,” Reinl said. “You think you’re doing something good when you’re actually doing the opposite.”"
WHY IS INFLAMMATION GOOD:
"The first step towards healing, inflammation is triggered when the body senses a harmful event, specifically injured tissue. White blood cells like neutrophils and macrophages, which Reinl dubs the “cleanup crew,” rush to the injured site to sweep away debris and bring healing nutrients. Damaged vessels constrict to quarantine the injury, while surrounding vessels open up to let nutrient-rich fluid in, causing the initial swelling."
WHY IS ICE BAD:
" by applying ice to an inflamed area, you slow down the healing process, Reinl warns. Much like a winter storm grinds highway traffic to a halt, ice applies the brakes to the outflow of swelling and influx of healing nutrients."
WHAT SHOULD WE DO TO HEAL:
" Starrett and Reinl preach active recovery, using movement and light exercise to speed healing. Practiced by track athletes for years in the form of light jogging between sprint events, active recovery provides low-level stress to tissue, allowing it to heal and grow stronger.
..... Active recovery is the answer and stillness is the enemy,” Reinl said. He points out that swelling is removed from the site of injury via the lymphatic system. Part of the circulatory system, the lymphatic system is a sprawling map of one-way vessels that carry fluid toward the heart, disposing of waste products that are eventually dispelled in urine.
But there’s a catch to the lymphatic system — it’s completely passive, meaning that it can only move waste when muscles squeeze lymph vessels. No movement means no waste removal. In fact, when you freeze lymphatic vessels, it creates a backflow that leaks fluid back into the space between cells and increases swelling."
*****I can most definitely attest to and recommend active recovery after a knee replacement. Once I was released from the hospital and able to walk around at home, I was able to get around without crutches quite quickly (to my PT's dismay). As I have mentioned before, being in Crossfit shape and my insistence on using my knee, made me able to go back to work within 6 weeks.(generally it is recommended to go back to work within 3 months)
A PT is quoted as saying: " Dr. Chad Nowlin, a physical therapist in Commerce, Texas, recalls that during one of many internships, knee replacement patients experienced excruciatingly slow recoveries, even with the use of ice. But a switch to active recovery changed everything."
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