Whether you’re sidelined by a knee injury or are recovering from post-surgery pain, your knees deserve more than a frozen bag of peas.
With so many options on the market, finding the perfect knee ice pack can be hard. So, we fully understand if you’re struggling to choose between a knee ice pack or a knee ice wrap.
Allow us to help you out by sharing our list of essential features of the best knee ice pack wrap and explaining how heat and cold therapies work to ease your knee problems.
How does cold therapy ease knee pain and injury?
When you are injured, your body’s white blood cells release chemicals to protect the affected site, causing the areas around it to swell. Cold therapy or ice works well for fresh injuries because it minimizes pain, inflammation and relieves swollen tissues.
An ice pack creates an analgesic effect by slowing down the pain receptors from sending pain messages to your brain.
Cold therapy also speeds up the recovery process post-surgery or injury, preventing muscle contraction and scar tissue formation.
Why do you need a knee ice pack?
Ice or cold therapy helps alleviate the following knee conditions:
- (Osteo)arthritis pain
- Sore knees
- Knee sprain or strain
- Knee pain due to injury or post surgery
- Post surgery leg swelling
- Twisted knee
- Knee problems such as bursitis, tendonitis or meniscus tear
- Exercise-induced pain
How does heat therapy relieve knee pain and injury?
If you’re suffering from chronic pain, muscle pain and stiffness and the like, heat therapy is your best bet for pain relief. Heat calms the nervous system, and that’s why a warm shower feels so reassuring and relaxing after a stressful and frazzling day.
It is best to apply heat therapy two to three days following the onset of knee pain and injury. By easing tight muscles and tissues, heat enhances movement and flexibility. Because it encourages blood flow, heat accelerates the healing process by bringing in blood and much-needed nutrients to the injured spot.
Warm packs should not be applied to an inflamed area because it can exacerbate pain and swelling.
Is ice or heat better for knee pain or injury?
Some people prefer warm ice packs over cold ones because of the reassuring feeling they get after applying it on the affected site.
However, the best temperature therapy principle is to use ice packs for new injuries to reduce pain and swelling. Apply heat after two to three days to loosen the ligaments and beat muscle stiffness and soreness.
When preparing for a sports activity, applying heat could be beneficial to allow better range of movement or flexibility and to promote blood flow.
Using knee ice packs post surgery increases blood flow to the affected area, facilitating healing. A good knee ice pack wrap like this one allows for hands free and professional cooling.
Cold and heat application precautions
Applying ice on your bare skin and letting it stay for a long period can cause skin and tissue damage due to an ice burn.
To avoid this, place a towel or any protective barrier between the ice and your skin. This won’t be necessary if your ice pack comes with a sleeve.
Limit use of both heat and cold therapy to no more than 15 or 20 minutes at a time to avoid burning yourself. Always use a warm, not scalding, hot pack.
Because of impaired sensation, persons with certain conditions that cause nerve and circulation issues, such as diabetes and Raynaud’s Syndrome, should avoid heat and cold knee ice packs.
5 different types of ice packs for your knees
There are specially designed braces for almost every type of injury. Choosing the best one can make a huge difference in how fast and how well your injury heals. However, most injuries are accidental in nature, and there may be times when you don’t have an ice pack on hand. On these occasions, you’ll have to improvise.
Below are the types of ice packs you can use for your knees:
1. Knee ice pack or compression wrap
These types are the best choice because they stay cold for a longer period and mould better around the affected knee. Knee compression wraps provide professional hands-free cooling, so you can continue to do the things you love even while you’re waiting to fully heal from your condition.
2. Frozen vegetables
This is not the best option, but it partly does the job for when you don’t have an ice pack handy. They’re harder to manipulate, though, and will not cover the whole joint. You’ll also have to hold them in place and sacrifice the use of one of your hands.
3. Instant ice pack
This should be in your medicine kit for use in minor accidents or emergencies. An instant ice pack is the best option when you are outdoors, whether picnicking, hiking, running or biking. Simply squeeze or break the pack and apply it on your injured knee.
4. Cryo cuff
A cryo cuff looks like a blood pressure cuff that’s made especially for your knees. The cuff is filled with ice cold water from a gravity-fed cooler, and because of this, most people don’t find it convenient to use.
5. DIY ice pack
Flexible homemade ice packs are better than a frozen bag of vegetables because they mould better to your knees. It takes a bit of time to make one, though.
Here’s how to make one:
- 1 quart or 1 gallon plastic freezer bags
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup rubbing alcohol (70 percent) or liquid detergent
- Fill the plastic freezer bag with 1 cup of rubbing alcohol and 2 cups of water.
- Squeeze the air out of the freezer bag before sealing it shut.
- Place the bag and its contents upside down inside a second freezer bag to prevent leakage.
- Pop the bag in the freezer for about 2 hours.
- Cover with a thin cloth before applying on your knees to avoid an ice burn.
How do you keep an ice pack on your knee?
If you’re using a homemade ice pack and want to keep it on, either you don’t move your knees or keep your hands on the pack to put it in place (or both). To address this problem, use a cloth and tie it around the pack and your knee. The better option is to use an elastic bandage to hold the ice pack in place.
The best option is to grab this multi-purpose ice pack, which comes with an elastic band and remains flexible straight from the freezer. It can be used hot or cold and fits anywhere in the body, even on your knees. Enjoy immediate yet long lasting pain relief and hands-free cooling with this pack.
What are knee braces?
Knee braces are a form of support that you wear when your knees hurt or are injured. Some athletes wear it to prevent knee injuries while playing sports. Braces come in various sizes, colours and designs and are made from different materials such as plastic, foam, metal or elastic fabrics, among others.
What to look for in a knee ice pack or wrap
There are knee ice packs and wraps made for specific conditions. However, unless your physician recommends a certain type, consider these key factors when buying a knee ice pack in store or online:
1. Moldability and flexibility
It can be really tricky to apply an ice pack on your knees, especially when all you have is a rock-hard ice pack. Choose an ice pack that doesn’t freeze solid so you can mold it anywhere in your body.
2. Long-lasting coldness
Ice packs should be used no more than 20 minutes for each application, but obviously you need a knee ice pack that stays cold long after you’ve taken it out of the freezer. You’ll also need a knee ice pack that activates quickly so you can use it as soon as you need it.
3. Ergonomic design
Ultimately, an ergonomic design is what keeps your cold therapy experience better. Besides, you don’t want a knee ice pack wrap to add to your discomfort. Durable straps, belts, double-stitched seams and non-irritating fabric should be part of your checklist. This knee ice pack wrap, for instance, comes with velcro attachments that are super comfortable, making it easy to wear and take off without any assistance.
4. Compression power
A snug yet comfortable fit facilitates proper blood flow, one of the keys to faster healing. A knee ice pack wrap should provide proper compression without the danger of damaging your tissues or preventing you from being up and about. Consider an ice pack wrap that can be adjusted yet remain stable to fully support your knees and movement.
A high-quality knee ice pack should be able to withstand several uses in extreme temperatures. To top this off, the gel pack should be resistant to punctures and leaking with its fabric sleeves or brace sealed with double-stitched seams.
6. Price point
Affordability is not everything, and this goes for each commodity you’re planning to buy. Don’t go for the product with the cheapest price right away, except when you’re sure it’s really the best bang for your buck. Dare to consider pricier products that are worth paying the extra bucks for.
What is the best knee ice pack wrap?
If you’re looking to buy the best knee ice pack wrap that ticks all the boxes and more, we highly-recommend Magic Gel’s premium knee ice pack with professional wrap.
Satisfied buyers worldwide agree that this product works great for all types of knee pain, swelling and inflammation, whether caused by injuries or postoperative procedure. This knee ice pack wrap not only provides perfect compression but stabilizes the joint to fully support your knee. What’s more, it fits your left or right knee, and comes with two ultra-flexible gel packs that can be used hot or cold.
Finding the best knee ice pack can be tricky especially with a boatload of options on the market. Online stores typically have user reviews, while in-store products have their best sellers, so you can start with these.
But, more than anything, keep in mind our list of considerations, because if you know what you’re looking for, choosing the best knee ice pack wrap becomes less of a burden.
What do you think about our list? Do you have questions or need help with knee ice packs or wraps? We’re happy to help you out. Why don’t you drop us a line here?