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911DOC
911DOC, Board Certified Dr.
Category: Medical
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Experience:  Emergency Medicine Physician
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I placed an ice pack on the inside of my thigh yesterday [something

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I placed an ice pack on the inside of my thigh yesterday [something I've done many times] and left it on for about 20 minutes [maybe a little longer by mistake]. When i removed the ice pack, portions of the area were hard [that happened once before to another area I was icing but it was fine]. When it warmed, it left a huge red mark [still today]. It was an ice pace [not direct ice].

I still have feeling over the area...and it doesn't hurt.

What should I do? Have I done permanent damage?

911DOC :

Welcome, My answers are for educational purposes only. Remember please, that we do not get paid if you do not click 'accept' / give positive ratings!

911DOC :

It's hard to imagine how you might have done permenent damage.

911DOC :

Regular ice in a bag will cool the skin to near freezing

Customer:

good to hear.

911DOC :

And it is perfectly possible that you gave yourself 'frost nip', the early stages of frostbite, but the fact that it is red now means the blood flow is good

911DOC :

and that this should resolve shortly

911DOC :

the concern would be if it was NOT red

911DOC :

but almost all cold injuries, provided they do not proceed to actual freezing of the skin and underlying tissue, will resolve with time

911DOC :

in fact, for people who DO get frostbite from being out in the cold too long

911DOC :

most tissue returns to normal with time

911DOC :

standing by

Customer:

ok... great. about how long should i expect it to take? couple of days... a week?

911DOC :

i think that a few days is a reasonable guess. you do not need to do anything in particular, but until the skin returns to normal i would not re-apply the ice packs.

911DOC :

stand by for a reference.

911DOC :

COLD INJURIES

Customer:

ok... thank you. How long will you be available for a followup?

911DOC :

standing by

911DOC :

until they kick me off the site!

Customer:

ok.. i'll check out the links. thanks.

911DOC :

if you have received a good answer here please rate positively, and, when you wish, you can simply open this question again from the 'my question' tab above and type your response.

911DOC :

alternatively

911DOC :

i can schedule a follow up with you in a few days.

911DOC :

standing by

Customer:

ok... thank you.

911DOC :

Thank you so much for your question. It was a pleasure talking with you. Should you need my assistance in the future simply start your question with ‘for 911doc only’.


Positive feedback is always appreciated.


Be Well


911Doc

911DOC and 6 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

actually I already have a followup question. The reason I put ice on the area is because I'm nursing an injury...obviously. But generally, I've been applying heat to the area so I could more easily stretch it, to get the blood flowing, etc... [yesterday I iced it because I felt like I overdid some activities]. Anyway... is it ok to put heat on it or should I just totally leave it alone?

Great question.

 

The debate of heat versus cold therapy rages. Generally ice is recommended for muscular injuries as the initial therapy, then, after a few days, heat is preferred.

 

HERE IS A GOOD LINK FOR YOU

 

Of course, if this injury or pain has become chronic and you don't know exactly the cause, it would be good to check with your physician, but it sounds like this is a relatively minor injury, so using heat or cold, depending on what you read in the above link is certainly reasonable.

 

Best

 

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The therapy I've been using for that injury has been working very well. I'm really asking if it's ok to put heat on the already damaged area [from the ice].

ah, yes, it is fine to do this. in one of the links above there is a section on 'chill blaines', this may be what you have so do take a look at that.

 

but heat therapy would be fine at this point. warm moist towels work well.

 

best

911doc