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Is hot fomentation better than a cold compress?

Q: My sister-in-law's foot got injured, though there is no visible wound. Now after 10 days, when she visited the doctor, he advised medicines and ice fomentation. Is it alright? Some time ago one doctor had told us that when one gets injured, one should use ice fomentation upto 48 hours and after 48 hours, one should only use hot fomentation. Is this true?

A:The rationale for icing an injury initially is to decrease the inflammation. This clearly helps. After 48-72 hours it is generally recommended that heat be applied to the area of injury. The impression is that this (heat) helps with pain relief in the majority of patients 48-72 hours after injury. However, there are patients who get better pain relief with cold or ice compresses, even after 48-72 hours. By the way there are no trials, which have been done to prove which is the better approach.


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