How to Make an Ice Pack

runner with ice pack

As part of the R.I.C.E. method of injury self-treatment, ice can help reduce pain and swelling in running injuries. Icing can be an effective treatment for sprains, strains, and overuse injuries such as shin splints.

There are lots of commercial cold packs available, but they can be expensive and only last for a short time. It's easy to make an ice pack at home using just a few items, and it's a simple way for runners to save money.

Here's How:

  1. Put about one pound of ice in a sealable plastic bag. You can use either ice cubes or crushed ice.
  2. Add enough water to barely cover the ice. The water helps the ice conform to the shape of the injured area.
  3. Squeeze the air out of the bag, and seal it.
  4. Wrap the bag of ice in a towel or pillow case, and apply it to the painful area. Never put an ice pack directly on the injured area. Leaving ice on skin for a long period can cause freezer burn or mild frostbite.
  5. Move the ice pack around so it's not sitting on the same spot the entire time.
  6. Don't forget to elevate your injured body part above your heart while you're icing it. Elevating it can help further reduce the swelling.
  7. Use the ice pack for up to 15-20 minutes at a time. Icing for longer than that increases your risk of freezer burn. You can ice again in a few hours if you're still noticing pain or swelling.


  1. A bag of frozen peas or other vegetables also can be used as an ice pack. But, like the ice pack, it still needs to be wrapped in a towel before applying it to the painful area.

What You Need:

  • Ice
  • Sealable plastic bag such as a Ziploc bag
  • Water
  • Towel or pillow case

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