A patient called this morning to ask if they should put ice or heet on their foot. She has been doing some more walking and hiking in the last few weeks. She does not think she did anything traumatic or significant to the foot, it is just starting to be painful.
I recommend that she start icing her foot. She was to place ice on the foot for 15 minutes and cool the area down. The next step is to remove the ice for 15 minutes and let the area warm up. She should not experience pain during icing.
My favorite saying is "ice is your friend." Icing a sore area is usually a safe bet. There is little risk with aggravating the injury or making it worse by applying. Ice is a valuable tool at decreasing pain and inflammation. It is sometimes difficult to know if you have a mild sprain or strain in your foot. Sometimes this could be the initial symptoms of plantar fasciitis or metatarsal pain. But is always safer to start icing sooner rather than later to help control pain symptoms, and slow the progression of any injury.