A common question we are asked at the physio clinic is whether to use heat or ice with an injury.
Discussion with your therapist will help this but generally you only want to use ice within the first 48 hours of an injury. The reason for this is to close off and shut down the blood vessels around the injury in order to restrict swelling and bruising. If you were to heat during this stage it would likely exacerbate these issues. Heat is particularly effective in conditions where stiffness or tight muscles is a problem, for example if you feel tight in your hamstring before a game or at training, and want to increase the blood flow to the area before competing to help loosen the tightness. There are obviously exceptions to this rule but following the above simple advice should help you to get back on track as quickly as possible.