Icing and Active Recovery:
The brainchild of a high school cross country coach
Frustrated by clumsy ice packs and unwilling to get sidelined by minor injuries, trail runner and Ice Sleeve co-founder Sharlene Caldwell set out to find a better way.
As a cross country strength and conditioning coach, Caldwell knew the importance of icing injuries (like her frequently rolled ankles), but she also wanted to avoid the setbacks associated with losing mobility.
“So many times with my athletes, their therapists will say, ‘If you twist your ankle, just stay off it,’” says Caldwell. But when she repeatedly rolled an ankle on her own runs, Caldwell was less than excited to take that age-old advice. “I didn’t want to do that because running and exercise is my medication, and there’s no way that I was going to be able to stop,” she says.
Aside from missing her daily runner’s high, Caldwell was also worried about the impact of inactivity. She believes that staying off of an injured ankle, for instance, can actually hamper the mobility of the joint, causing stiffness and slowing the recovery process down.
Instead, she prefers to do lower impact activities like walking on a treadmill or running errands while she ices. “I think I was able to strengthen it in the way that it was normally going to be moving,” she says of her mobile icing technique. For Caldwell, being able to keep the swelling down and prevent blood from pooling in her ankle was a winning combo.