Actually, the standard treatment for strains and sprains is cold, not heat. RICE - Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation
Applying heat during the acute stage will increase swelling and pain. Increasing the blood flow to the area will flood the tissue due to the damage done to the small blood vessels when they were injured or strained. Liniment can cool the legs down due to the alcohol evaporating but not if bandages are wrapped over them.
Heat is recommended to be applied after the first 24 hours. *source - first aid books, veterinary text books and vet advice when my horses have been injured, doctors advice on how to treat my own injuries due to me being a clutz, 10 years experience as a volunteer surf life saver and having both my senior first aid certificate and advanced resuscitation certificate.*
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