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So you’ve just had a total or partial knee replacement and you’re on the road to recovery. One of the best ways to speed up that healing process and ease the residual pain is with cold therapy. And what better way to do that than with an ice therapy machine?
There are a variety of ice therapy machines available on the market, each with their own unique features and benefits. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of the 5 best ice therapy machines for knee replacement.
We consider the LifePro Cyrofrost as one of the best ice therapy machines because not only does it provide localized cold therapy to not the knee, but ankle, calf, and quads as well. Unlike the other systems with ice tanks, the Cryofrost is completely self-contained, which makes it portable and easy to use anywhere.
The Cyrofrost has a built-in temperature control and a compression system, making it a good option for post-knee surgery recovery, as it can help to reduce pain and inflammation in the knee.
- Provides both cold and compression therapy
- Adjustable temperature control
- No ice reservoir means no water spills
- Lifetime Warranty included
- May seem more expensive than other products available
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The COOLMAN is a fantastic ice machine for knee replacements because it provides continuous cold therapy to the knee. The COOLMAN’s compact design makes it easy to use and transport too. That makes it a great option for those who need to use it at home or on the go.
On top of all that, the COOLMAN also has a built-in timer and adjustable flow control, allowing you to customize the amount of cold therapy you receive.
- Compact and portable design
- Built-in timer and 5 adjustable flow rates
- Provides continuous cold therapy
- Some have mentioned that it’s difficult to snap closed
- Tubing can kink easily if not alined properly
The Ossur Cold Rush Therapy is specifically designed for knee injuries. You can use it for both acute and chronic knee pain. It also offers adjustable compression to help reduce swelling and improve circulation in the knee. The Ossur also comes with a convenient carrying case, making it easy to take with you on the go.
- Adjustable compression to help reduce swelling and improve circulation
- Up to 6 hours of continuous use
- Specifically designed for knee injuries
- Included pad could be of higher quality
- More expensive than other options
The Hyperice X Knee is a wearable, completely self contained compression wrap for the knee. It can be an effective tool for post-knee surgery recovery, as cold therapy can help to reduce pain and inflammation in the knee.
What’s neat about the Hyperice X Knee is that it provides both cold and heat therapy! Additionally, the X knee can be worn for longer periods of time with adjustable comfort levels.
- Portable with no wires
- Provides both cold and heat therapy
- Travel Friendly- TSA approved
- Extended treatment times
- May be expensive
- Battery life up to 1.5 hours
The Polar Active Ice may look pretty basic, but it’s still a contender for being one of the best ice therapy machines for total knee replacement recovery.
The Active Ice System includes a programmable digital timer that allows you to set custom on and off cycles. This allows you to set a treatment duration cycle per your doctor’s recommendation, in increments of 10 minutes and up to 990 minutes.
- Compact and portable design
- Customized cooling on and off cycle
- Made in the USA
- Some report difficulty attaching the pad
- 6 month warranty
Is an ice machine good for knee replacement?
Ice machines can be an effective tool for reducing pain and inflammation in the knee following a knee replacement surgery. Cold therapy, also known as cryotherapy, works by constricting blood vessels and decreasing inflammation, which can help to reduce pain and swelling in the knee.
According to a study:
Continuous cryotherapy devices demonstrated the best outcome in orthopaedic patients after knee arthroscopy procedures, compared with all other procedures and body locations, in terms of showing a significant reduction in pain, swelling, and analgesic consumption and increase in range of motion, compared with bagged ice or ice packs.National Library of Medicine
Ice machines provide a consistent and controlled source of cold therapy, which can be particularly useful for those who have difficulty applying ice packs or gel packs directly to the knee.
Related: 5 Ice Bath Benefits
How long should you leave ice machine on knee?
The duration of time that you should leave an ice machine on your knee following a total knee replacement surgery can vary depending on the specific recommendations of your doctor or physical therapist. It’s important to follow their guidance as they will take into consideration the specific details of your surgery and recovery.
Typically, ice therapy should be applied for 20-30 minutes at a time, with a break of at least 40-60 minutes between sessions. This allows time for the skin to warm up and helps prevent frostbite or other cold-related injuries. It’s also important to monitor the skin for any signs of irritation or numbness and adjust the duration of time accordingly.
It’s important to note that the duration of time for the usage of ice machine and the frequency of usage may change as the healing process progresses, and it’s best to follow the guidance of your doctor or physical therapist. They may also advise on how many times a day you should use the ice machine and for how long, taking into account your healing progress and pain level.
Related Reading: 5 Best Affordable Ice Bath Tubs For Those On A Budget
How do you use an ice machine for knee surgery?
Time needed: 20 minutes
The specific instructions for using an ice machine for knee surgery will vary depending on the type of machine you have, but here are some general steps that can be followed:
- Consult Your Doctor
Always consult with your doctor or physical therapist before using an ice machine to make sure it is appropriate for your specific situation and recovery.
- Follow Instructions
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for setting up and using the machine. This may include filling the machine with water, connecting hoses and/or pads, and plugging in the machine.
Adjust the temperature and flow rate according to your comfort level and the recommendations of your doctor or physical therapist.
Place the machine’s pad or cuff on the knee and secure it in place. Make sure the pad or cuff is not too tight, as this can cause discomfort or impede circulation.
- Treatment Time
Turn the machine on and allow it to run for the recommended time, which is typically 20-30 minutes at a time, with a break of at least 40-60 minutes between sessions.
Monitor your skin for any signs of irritation or numbness and adjust the duration of time accordingly.
- Post Treatment Instructions
After use, turn off the machine and disconnect the hoses or pads. If your ice machine uses water, drain the machine and clean it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
These might seem like basic, common sense steps to follow (and they are), but take them seriously. As helpful as ice therapy machines may be, they’re easy to misuse as well.
Listen to your doctor. Follow instructions. Don’t exceed the recommended time. Monitor the skin. Clean the machine frequently.
Additional tips applying ice after total knee replacement
Again, the best way to ice a knee after a knee replacement surgery will depend on the specific instructions provided by your doctor or physical therapist. However, these are some additional tips that can be followed:
- A typical treatment time is about 20 minutes, so find a comfortable chair to sit in.
- If you’re applying a simple ice pack or gel pack, wrap it in a towel or cloth and avoid direct contact with the skin. Frostbite is a real possibility if you don’t.
- Don’t apply an ice therapy pad directly on a incision or open wound.
- Ice is a great way to manage pain, but it also limits nutrient carrying blood to flood the injured area. If you want your injury to heal, be prudent amount the number of times you apply ice throughout the day.
What are the top 5 mistakes after knee replacement?
- Not following physical therapy and exercise recommendations: It is important to follow the rehabilitation plan prescribed by the surgeon and physical therapist to ensure proper healing and optimal function of the knee.
- Overloading the knee: Activities such as climbing stairs, squatting, and kneeling should be avoided for a period of time after surgery to prevent excessive stress on the knee.
- Neglecting to use assistive devices: Using crutches or a walker as directed can help take weight off the knee and reduce the risk of falling.
- Not managing pain and swelling: Pain and swelling can impede the healing process and prolong recovery. It is important to manage these symptoms with medications and ice as directed by the surgeon.
- Resuming high-impact activities too soon: Activities such as running or jumping should be avoided for several months after surgery to prevent damage to the artificial joint.
The authors and editors that comprise the Recovatech Team have 20+ years of combined experience and knowledge covering the topics of strength, fitness, and recovery. We are impassioned in our pursuit of presenting the most up-to-date information on strength training, cardio fitness, physical rehab, functional movement, nutrition, workout recovery, and best-in-class reviews. Should you feel inclined, please reach out to us at admin[at]recovatech.com.