Immediately after an injury an inflammatory response begins with the migration of white blood cells called neutrophils and macrophages to the site of injury. Along with these cells inflammatory mediators also rush in. These inflammatory mediators increase the permeability of capillary walls allowing oedema to develop. Oedema is often visible as a swelling or puffiness and can vary in severity which is usually in relation to the severity of the injury. An increase in temperature may also accompany swelling and can be identified by comparing with the unaffected limb.
We all know that following an injury or after particularly strenuous work that we should limit the damage and help with the healing process by applying something cold to the affected area. But why? And what is the best way to go about it?