A good rule of thumb to recall following an injury is RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. You should typically ice the area for 48 to 72 hours to reduce secondary tissue damage and relieve pain.
When to use Cold Therapy?
Any cold treatment ought to be used for 24 to 48 hours following an injury. Cold therapy is suitable for sprains, strains, bumps, and bruises that can occur in sports or lifting. Apply cold packs or ice packs to the injured areas for no more than 20 minutes at a time, removing the cold pack for 10 minutes and reapplying it again.
How to use cold therapy in a safe way?
Don’t apply it for more than 20 minutes. Also, wrap ice or ice packs in a very thin towel before applying.
If unsure on whether or not to use heat or cold to an injury, consult your doctor.