Know the Difference of When to Use Ice Vs Heat on a Soccer Injury

Is your go-to method for sore muscles always ice? If so, you may be using the incorrect treatment for your soccer injury. Every injury is unique so we much treat each one differently and apply the correct treatment. Don't worry you're not alone, the team at CrossBones Sports was a little unsure of what the correct treatment was, so I did some digging to help clarify this confusing question for all my fellow soccer players and athletes.

The first thing you need to know is whether the injury is acute or chronic. 

1. Acute Injury:

An injury that occurred within the past 48 hours and has short-lived pain.


  • tenderness
  • redness
  • swelling
  • inflammation
  • sudden, sharp pain

2. Chronic Injury:

An injury that develops slowly and is long-lasting. This may be an acute injury that did not heal properly.


  • continuously bothersome
  • feelings of soreness
  • feelings of dull pain

Now that you have characterized your injury as either acute or chronic, learn which treatment method is the most beneficial. 


Ice treatment is best used for acute injuries to help reduce pain and swelling. Wrap your injury in a thin towel so the ice is not directly on the skin and ice the injury in 10 minute increments. It is important to not put the ice directly on the skin to avoid ice rash. 


Heat treatment is used best when applied before working out. Heat is generally used for chronic injuries, such as sore muscles and joint pain, because it stimulates blood flow and relaxes the injured area. Apply heat by using a heating pad or a hot wet towel for 20 minute increments. Do not heat your injury for more than 20 minutes or you could increase your chances of heat rash or burns. 

Please remember that these are just tips for minor pain incurred during a match or a long day of soccer practice. If you are ever concerned about a soccer or sports related injury, don’t hesitate to call your doctor!