This article was updated and republished on June 4, 2023.
Knee Pain is Common
Knee pain is a common ailment for people of all ages. It can be caused by a host of variables such as old age, obesity, knee surgery, strains during sports, poor circulation, or arthritis. In fact, one in four adults suffers from knee pain.
Other factors like resting too much, improper sleeping positions, wearing the wrong shoes, and failing to warm up before exercising can worsen your knee pain and make it unbearable. There are options and solutions that can combat your aches.
Following along for some advice on when to consider when selecting a cold therapy unit for your knee, as well as advice on the best ice machines for knees.
Have you tried cold therapy for knee pain?
One of the best treatments for combatting knee pain is hot and cold therapy. Heat can relax and alleviate sore muscles, while cold therapy can numb areas and reduce inflammation. These therapies are especially helpful if you experience arthritis, pain after exercising, or just went through knee surgery.
One of the great things about these methods is that it doesn’t involve taking medications that could cause additional issues or a possible substance addiction.
Specifically, cold therapy reduces blood flow, nerve activity, swelling, inflammation, and chronic pain. As such, it is a recommended method when dealing with pain management. There are different types of cold therapies. One of the most effective being cold therapy machines as they have the power to alleviate pain quickly by numbing affected areas. Coldtherapy compression in combination with ice therapy is a recommended method for combating aches and pain, related to your muscular system. It is backed by medicalprofessionals and sport rehabilitation specialists.
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What to look in an ice machine for knee surgery or injury recovery
There are a lot of variables to consider when looking for an ice machine for your knee. Someone seeking ice therapy for a knee injury probably has different needs than someone looking for an ice machine for knee surgery.
That being said, here are some of the most important variables to consider when selecting ice machines for knee pain.
To numb your knee and help the pain subside, you want your cold therapy unit to get as cold as possible. Many cold therapy machines let you add ice and cold water directly into the container. This is a great method for alleviating knee pain and providing extended relief.
You also want to note how the timer setting works. Some cold therapy systems have timers that control a session’s duration while others work continuously.
Compression levels are the key when selecting an ice machine for knee pain.An ice machine that has pads or wraps worn over your knee can help stabilize the joint, decrease swelling, and allow you to painlessly engage in what otherwise, might be painful activities. An ice machine with compression pads helps alleviate inflammation, swelling, and chronic pain.
Comfortable Pads and Insulation
You won’t want to use your ice therapy machine if it isn’t pleasant. You’ll want an ice therapy system with ergonomic pads and a soft texture so that you can comfortably wrap it around your knee.
You also want to note the tube length and insulation quality of your cold therapy machine. Longer tubes allow for higher mobility levels that can help you lay down easily while using the machine. Additionally, strong insulation is needed in your pads and hose to ensure cold compression is directed to your knee for targeted relief.
Explore the full list of Cold Therapy Pads & Accessories to decide which pad will fit most comfortably on your knee.
Many ice machines have a handle so that you can easily bring it along wherever you go. Keeping this in mind, you’ll want to aim for a compact design so you can experience relief whenever you need it. Additionally, you might run into a doctor, physical therapist, or nurse who might want to see you use the ice machine during your visit. Being able to transport your cold therapy unit easily will make a big difference in the long run, especially as your recover from a knee injury or surgery.
Non-Motorized vs. Motorized Cold Therapy Systems
There are benefits to both types of ice machines: motorized & non-motorized.
Motorized iced machines provide a stronger flow, working consistently to provide relief. However, some motors are noisy and loud. Some motorized ice machines have a “quiet feature” that makes for a quieter motor. Make sure you know which kind of machine you want before you purchase one.
Non-motorized ice machines are usually smaller and lighter for easier portability. And their lack of motor means you won’t have to worry about a plug. However, no motor means no timers, settings, or customizability. Depending on what you need, this might be an important distinction to keep in mind.
What are the best cold therapy machines for knees?
Typical ice therapy machines come with a container you can fill with water and ice, a hose, and a large pad. In addition to the suggestions mentioned above about what to look for in an ice machine, the best cold therapy machine may depend on a combination of factors. Every ache and pain and body is different and there isn’t one answer and one machine that fits all.
Ultimately, the best ice therapy machines to relieve discomfort will utilize freezing temperatures and cold compression therapy. These are the two most important elements to keep in mind when looking to relieve knee pain.
This ice therapy system is an all-around winner. It utilizes anatomic wraps while simultaneously providing compression. The Breg Polar Care Wave ice machine is quiet, simple, compact, and easy to carry to any destination.This machine can easily be transported to a patient’s home from the hospital, to a physical therapy clinic, or athletic training room. This compact design and portability extends the benefits of cold compression beyond your home giving knee pain sufferers relief throughout their day.
Another great option is the Breg Polar Care Kodiak Ice Machine. This ice machine is very similar to the Breg ice machine mentioned above as it is compact, easy to use, portable and the pads are ergonomically-friendly and designed specifically for the knee.
You can enjoy 6-8 hours of relief with this ice machine. It also offers high levels of insulation in the hose and pad for targeted compression. This is because the therapy pads are shaped specifically for your knee and offer a comfortable design and texture.
While you can't go wrong with any of the Breg cryotherapy machines, the Polar Cube was designed with specific recovery types in mind. If your knee pain is stemming from one of the following, you should seriously consider getting a Breg Polar Cube:
- Physical therapy
- Arthroscopic and reconstructive procedures
- General knee surgery
For more specific details about all of the Breg cryotherapy units for knee pain and other injuries, read on in our Is Breg Cold Therapy Right for You guide.
Aircast's Cryo Cuff IC Cooler is designed to be flexible and comfortable, with unique cuffs available for wrapping the knee as well as other body parts like shoulders, thighs, back, foot, ribs, and hips.
Using measured compression, this cryotherapy machine for knees is well suited to reduce swelling, pain, and risk of tissue damage in your knee.
DonJoy's Iceman Classic3 System is arguably the greatest ice machine for knee rehabilitation. The key differentiator with this product is the patented dual pump recirculation system that strategically keeps temperatures extra cold and consistent, unlike competitors systems in which temperatures fluctuate.
Buying into this particular unit practically guarantees reduced knee pain and swelling.
For a longer list of popular cold therapy units, read on in the Best Cold Therapy Machines for Faster Recovery guide.
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Ice Machines for Knee Pain - In Conclusion
The best ice machine for alleviating knee pain can depend on a variety of factors. When deciding, take into account how and where you want to use the machine. The Breg Polar Care Wave Cold Therapy Ice Machine has all of the bells and whistles, while still providing targeted cold therapy and knee pain relief. Collectively, this ice machine will help you find prolonged relief making it an excellent option for alleviating knee pain.
Regardless of which ice therapy machines you consider, relieving knee pain is important to help you get back to the things you enjoy. Knee pain can be a huge obstacle in your life, but with the right therapy, it doesn’t have to slow you down.
Talk to your doctor before beginning cold therapy and make sure you choose the right cold therapy unit for your specific pain.
For more resources for injury prevention and recovery, read on: