When it comes to knee pain or a knee injury, you’ve probably heard that the best thing to do is keep it elevated and resting it as much as possible. This is great, and is exactly what you need to do, but there are other things that you can do to speed up the recovery process. One of those things, which we will cover today, is cold therapy. Not only is it an easy treatment method that you can do just about anywhere, it has been proven to provide great results in the recovery process. Keep reading if you are interested in learning more about cold therapy and the benefits of using a knee cold wrap, as well as our top 3 picks when it comes to icing your knee.
What is Cold Therapy?
As you may have already guessed, cold therapy is the treatment of an injury – your knee in this case – with something extremely cold, like ice. There are many ways you can do this, such as ice cubes placed in a sealable plastic bag, a frozen bag of peas, frozen gel packs or cold packs, cold compression wraps, etc. Regardless of which one you use, the main purpose of icing your knee is to reduce the swelling and inflammation around the impacted area. It’s important to get rid of these two, and quickly, to give your body a chance to heal itself. The other major benefit of cold therapy is that it numbs the nerve endings in the injured area, which gives you some much needed relief from the pain.
Please keep in mind that there are some rules to follow when it comes to using cold therapy for your knee pain or knee injury. These include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Ice should be applied ASAP after injury – When you get injured, you should make sure that you apply the ice to the injury as soon as possible after it happens. The sooner that you can help reduce the inflammation, the faster your knee is going to recover.
- Do not apply it directly to your skin – Whatever method you go with, it’s extremely important not to apply it directly to your skin. Always place some sort of fabric between the ice pack and your knee. Experiment with a t-shirt or towel until you find something that still lets you feel the cold, but protects your skin against the damage of frost bite.
- Try to keep the knee elevated – When applying the ice, you should keep the knee elevated. The purpose of elevating your leg is to help reduce the swelling by natural moving fluid away from the injured knee.
- Do not exceed 20 minutes and try to space out the treatments – Too much cold is not a good thing either. Unless your doctor recommended a specific time, stick to 15-20 minutes per icing session. If you stick to shorter sessions, then you can repeat the process throughout the day if needed. For more information on this topic, read our post “How Long Should I Ice My Knee?“
Popular Knee Cold Therapy Products
We’ve tried a bunch of different products over the years and we’ve also done a lot of research on other products to see what people are saying about them. Although there are a ton of great options out there, we narrowed down the list to a short 3. How did we make our choice? It came down to having a decent price, amazing reviews online (in case you don’t want to take our word for it) and how simple they make the process of icing your knee. Here are our choices:
- übertherm Knee Pain Relief Cold Wrap – This device wraps securely around your knee and keeps the area cold, but without freezing the skin or causing any damage. It’s ideal for those who want long-term relief and don’t want to have to stress about keeping it moving while in use. One of the main benefits/features of this wrap is how comfortable it is to wear. The “Ice Pillow”, which is the part that applies to your skin, offers a comfy fit, while making sure that the cold therapy is not overwhelming.
- SimplyJnJ’s Cold Therapy Knee Wrap With Compression – Not only does this wrap offer targeted cold therapy, but it also allows you to apply controlled compression to the injured area (using a hand pump and air compression tube). Several studies have been conducted and have proven that the combination of compression and cold therapy has a higher success rate in reducing swelling and inflammation, compare to just using ice on its own. Another bonus with this kit is that it comes and an extra (free) ice gel pack in case you need longer ice times.
- Shock Doctor ICE Recovery Compression Knee Wrap – Similar to the others, this one is built with strong and adjustable straps and also has 4 gel packs to help reduce the inflammation and swelling. The gel packs can be removed and inserted as needed for targeted comfort. This can also double as heat therapy, making it great for those who want the option of both. The compression is gentle but targeted to the knee shape to offer more localized treatment.
A cold knee wrap is a great way to get some much-needed relief for your knee pain. When you use it right, you’ll be able to enjoy its perks in recovery time and prevention of further injuries. The key is to make sure you follow the rules above and focus on using the right ice pack option for you and your needs. Have you used any of these products before? Or maybe you prefer a different product? Either way, we’d love to hear from you. Just leave a comment below! Until next time.