I was talking with a nurse friend of mine a couple of weeks ago and she shared an easy tip for making a homemade heat pack. You just need two ingredients: rice and a bag. She suggested making a permanent heat pack by sewing a dish cloth into a bag and filling it with rice. I, being the lazy person I am, made it even easier.
Nathan, while playing a rousing game of capture the flag with a bunch of other boys, ran smack into a well cover in the dark woods, badly damaging his leg just above the knee. It was swollen and bruised, but not broken or more seriously damaged. But he had a soccer game to play next morning. So we ibuprofened him up and applied ice then heat using this handy dandy instant heat pack.
Fill a zippered plastic bag with rice and heat it in the microwave for one minute. The rice holds the heat very well and for a long time without being too hot and burning. You can save the bag of rice in your first aid kit or medicine cupboard and use it again and again.
Applying alternate ice and heat to this sort of injury helps it to heal much quicker. Add in ibuprofen, an anti-inflammatory, every four to six hours and you have a kid ready to play a Saturday game after a Friday night injury.