We have reviewed the best ice packs for knee replacement surgery. If you are in a hurry, the table below gives a quick snapshot of the top 6.
What is Knee Replacement Surgery?
Knee replacement surgery, or what is more commonly known as TKR (total knee replacement) is a surgery meant to replace a knee joint whose cartilage has been damaged by either arthritis or a surgical procedure.
Osteoarthritis is a condition where the cartilage in the knee joint gets damaged due to age. This causes the two bones to start rubbing against each other, which leads to a lot of pain.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an unfortunate condition where the body’s immunity cells start attacking joints. Lastly, surgical procedures may also lead to unfortunate damage to tissues cartilage between the joints, which can cause the onset of osteoarthritis like symptoms
In each of these conditions, knee replacement surgery is recommended if the damage is too severe and is causing pain and difficulty in walking.
Knee replacement is one of the most common procedures in the US. It is estimated that over 1 million Americans are mobile today because of a knee replacement surgery, without which they would have had to face acute pain and suffering.
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What Happens in a TKR surgery?
If you are going to be, or have been part of a knee replacement surgery, you should be aware of what the procedure entails.
The surgeon replaces the damaged cartilage and bones from the knee and instead inserts a metallic hinged joint between the ends of the two bones. A plastic spacer is then introduced between the two implants to smoothen the movement between them. Depending on the condition of the knee cap a plastic button may also be introduced in its place.
Each side of a knee joint is supported by a ligament known as the posterior cruciate. Again, depending on the situation, this ligament may either be retained or else replaced by a polyethylene post.
What Happens Post Knee Replacement?
Knee replacement is a complex operation that may take anywhere between 1.5 to 3 hours. Post-surgery, most patients are required to spend at least a few days in the hospital. It is important to keep your knee in motion after a TKR. A continuous passive motion machine may be recommended to you for this purpose, and you will be prescribed medication to control your pain.
After a few days, your physical therapy sessions will start which will help you recover strength in your knee and increase the range of motion. You will continue physical therapy both at the rehab center as well as when you are back home.
While medication will continue while you are at the rehab center, it is best to start reducing your dependence on pain medicine once you are strong enough to go back home. At this point, you have to make sure that the wound remains moisture-free and clean. You will also start experiencing a lot of pain when the medication is no longer available.
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Relieving Pain After Knee Replacement Surgery
Post knee replacement surgery, you may inevitably face inflammation and pain in the knee joint, as the joint starts to repair itself. To reduce the pain, make sure that you elevate your legs and apply a cold pack to the affected area of the knee, especially after exercises such as walking or jogging. You can apply a cold pack for 15-20 minutes every day.
Other options that can help relieve pain are listed below:
- Medicines (not preferred, as they may cause dependence)
- Physical Therapy
- Other therapies such as music, massages, relaxation techniques, meditation
- Psychological therapy
- Nerve blocks
Here we have a short video demonstration on how to put on an ice pack after your knee surgery in which you can also do at home.
Is Cold Therapy Effective?
Cold therapy as a method to reduce pain has been around for ages. Its efficacy has been validated by studies done and it has been proven that cold therapy has a slight improvement impact on pain and has no side effects as compared to other pain relief measures such as using pain medication.
How Long Should You Ice after TKR?
3-4 times a day in the initial phase when your pain is at its maximum is a good rule of thumb that most doctors follow. Post the first few weeks, inflammation on your knees will start to subside, however, the ice pack will still offer great relief against pain. Try to ice your knees everyday post knee replacement for at least a few months
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What Are the Best Ice Packs for TKR?
#1 Rester’s Choice Gel Cold & Hot Pack
Our number 1 choice for the best ice pack available in the market is this great little gel pack from Rester’s choice.
This pack is available in multiple sizes – so you can select the one that you need basis your height and knee size. Another great thing is that this pack is not specifically designed for only the knee. It can be used for any body part while being both comfortable and close to the injury.
Since you are buying an ice pack for the long term, you might as well look for a product that is useful to you even if you need it for other reasons than your knee, so we recommend a product that is shaped flat so that you can reuse it elsewhere.
One very brilliant feature of this ice pack which sets it apart from everything else in this list is the guarantee that the pack does not crumple up when frozen. Most ice packs tend to become at least a bit harder when putting in the freezer, making them a little less flexible and therefore less useful since you ideally want to be able to place the pack in any position that gives you relief.
This product is also very easy to cool – it takes just 2 hours in the freezer for the pack to become frosty – so much so that you will need a cloth between the ice pack and your skin.
Lastly, the pack is useful both as a heating pad and as a cooling pad – so you can use it the way you want when you want it.
- Cools very easily takes just 2 hours
- Does not crumple up when frozen
- Can be used both as cool and hot pack
- Can be used on any body part
- Available in multiple sizes
- There were a couple of reports of gel leaking out from the ice pack
- A few customers reported that the pack did not stay frozen for a long time
#2 Vive Knee Ice Pack Wrap
The Vive knee ice pack is our next choice for the best ice packs for knee replacement. This time, we went with a knee specific ice pack!
This one is an ice pack rolled around your knee in a knee pad. That too a strong knee pad – the Vice knee ice pack is coupled to your knee through 4 velcro straps, that make it hug close tot he knee.
Within those 4 straps, there are 3 separate cooling liquid gels, which can be removed or put back as per need. Two of the gels go in the front of the knee, and 1 goes in the back.
The knee pad is made from a breathable neoprene blend, which makes it very comfortable for wearing them 2-3 hours (as recommended for patients recovering from TKR). The product also comes with a 60-day guarantee, which means you can try and buy it.
- Tightly grips the knee area for maximum soothing
- Made from a neoprene blend for comfort
- 3 different gel pads which can be applied or removed as per convenience
- Few complaints of the gel packs not remaining cold enough for a long time
- The ice pack cover is not very durable
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#3 TheraPAQ Large Wrap with Ice Pack for Injuries
The TheraPAQ is our next top choice of ice packs. This one is another freestyle pad that can be applied anywhere on the body.
The great thing about the ThrePAQ is that the elastic hook-and-loop straps on the ice pack are specially designed to create a good grip almost anywhere on the body.
The pad can be used for hot or cold purposes both. It has an unconditional money-back guarantee.
- Custom hook and loop straps for a great grip on any part of the body
- Freestyle pad can be used anywhere on the body
- The ice pack is multipurpose- it can be used both as a hot pack and a cold pack
- The product tends to weigh more than other cold packs
- Does not remain cold for long enough
#4 Brownmed Polar Ice Large Knee Wrap
The Brownmed ice packs are made from soft fleece material, which not only gives a great look and grip but also holds the cold inside making it good for using it for a longer time.
Another great point is that the product has a hook and loop strap to affix it to the knee and fasten in a secure place. The pad is again usable for both cold and heat.
- Fleece based outer covering
- Hook and loop closures
- The ice pack is multipurpose- it can be used both as a hot pack and a cold pack
- A few customers complained that the pack does not get cold enough for pain relief
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#5 ComfiLife Knee Ice Pack
The ComfiLife knee ice packs have a great feature wherein you can adjust the gel pack within the knee strap to make it stay in place.
It has a durable design and is large enough to comfortably apply it to any person’s knee. The product comes with a 100% lifetime guarantee.
- Pocket for adjusting gel pack inside the knee pack
- Durable design
- Extra large size
- 100% lifetime guarantee
- Does not remain cold enough as per some customers.
# 6 Koo-Care Flexible Gel Ice Pack
The Koo-Care has an especially different design than the rest of the ice packs in this list. Instead of hook and loop straps, the Koo-Care pack uses a large elastic strap to hold the gel bag in location.
The ice pack can remain flexible even in very cold conditions, is one size fits most (not meant only for the knee) and it comes with a 1-year guarantee for complete peace of mind.
- Large elastic band for holding the gel pack
- Remains flexible at even -18 degrees
- 1-year guarantee
- Due to the different design, this kind of ice packs maybe a bit uncomfortable for some users
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Knee replacement surgery is one of the most common surgical procedures these days, due to the prevalence of factors that cause arthritis (both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis). Post TKR, there are several weeks of therapy and recovery time, during which time ice packs can be a wonderful device to reduce inflammation and pain in the knee. Ice packs are recommended to be applied at least 3-4 times a day during the first few weeks of surgery, and later on at least once a day, to help keep the pain and swelling in your knee to not flare up again.
In this article, we have reviewed 6 of the top ice packs available in the market for knee replacement therapy. We have compared them on several parameters and gone through hundreds of user reviews before coming to our ranking.
As always, the product recommendations and advice in this article are not to be construed as medical advice. For any questions or doubts on cryo-therapy as a means to reduce knee pain, please reach out to a doctor or a certified medical practitioner.