Cryotherapy is a common treatment approach for many patients recovering from injuries or surgery. Although it has been used successfully for hundreds of years, it is important for healthcare professionals to know that developments have been made to improve the traditional methods for applying cold therapy.
Ice baths and cold packs are still effective means to achieve the many benefits of cryotherapy, but new technologies have enabled better application systems that are cleaner, safer and produce better results.
Why Cryotherapy Treatment Alone is Not Enough
Physicians and physical therapists always strive to provide the best care for their patients. Staying on top of scientific advancements is one of the best ways to reach this goal. The addition of active compression to cryotherapy is an excellent example of how new technologies can improve traditional treatment methods.
Some of the reasons the combination of cryotherapy and active compression should be adopted in your practice include:
Enhanced benefits - All of the same therapeutic benefits you get with traditional RICE therapy are enhanced with the addition of active cold and compression. Pain and swelling are effectively reduced for a longer period of time and metabolic activity is slowed more rapidly.
Better edema removal - The build-up of excess fluid around an injury is both uncomfortable for the patient and it slows down the healing process. Active compression helps remove edema by pumping fluid away from the area.
Better lymphatic drainage - As waste products build up while cells are repairing themselves, active compression helps flush them away with improved lymphatic drainage.
Better blood flow - The natural pumping action contributes to the vasoconstriction effects of cryotherapy and increases blood flow, which helps bring fresh oxygen and nutrients to healing tissues.
Better coverage - Active compression wraps are designed to conform to the contours of the body, so unlike an ice pack that can only deliver cold to a limited area, you achieve more coverage. This contributes to faster, deeper cooling that lasts longer so your patients get more out of each treatment session.
In addition, cold and compression wraps are safer for patients because, unlike an ice bath, you can control the temperature and avoid unwanted damage to skin. Patients also don't have to deal with getting wet, which makes each treatment session faster and easier for everybody.
If you want to learn more about how active cold and compression can improve the treatment offering at your clinic, get in touch with Game Ready today. The system is clinically-proven, used by thousands of physical therapists and trainers, and will help you bring more customers to your clinic.
The benefits of cold therapy are widely known among athletic trainers, physical therapists and physicians, but the traditional application methods leave something to be desired. Ice packs provide only localized cryotherapy and have the potential to damage skin if they are too cold. Ice baths provide more coverage, but they are uncomfortable and messy for patients.
Fortunately, new developments in cryotherapy systems have made it safer, easier, and more effective to deliver therapeutic cold to your clients.
3 Reasons to Add Cryotherapy Systems to Your Clinic
Cryotherapy systems use patented technology to deliver cold at a consistent temperature throughout the therapy session. They do this by using wraps with integrated chambers to circulate water that flows through an ice reservoir to maintain a constant level of cold.
Some of the reasons you should consider adding a cryotherapy system to your clinic include:
Safety - Eliminate the risk of potential skin damage from ice packs that are too cold. Although clients might understand that there is a chance of this happening, if you can provide an alternative that removes this undesirable side effect, they may be more willing to follow your therapeutic recommendations.
Comfort - Keeping an ice pack in the same spot on the body or submerging injured joints and limbs in an ice bath is uncomfortable for anybody. Giving your clients a better, more comfortable option will keep them coming back for treatments and give your clinic an edge over the competition.
Therapeutic benefit - Cryotherapy systems, especially those that combine the delivery of therapeutic cold with active compression, are proven to be more effective than ice packs alone. If you offer a solution that will help athletes and physical therapy patients recover more quickly, you will have satisfied customers. This means more referrals and more traffic to your clinic.
Game Ready provides cryotherapy systems with integrated active compression for even faster healing. In combination with therapeutic cold, active compression helps reduce swelling, remove edema, and decrease pain in a non-narcotic application. A collection of wraps enables you to safely provide cold and compression therapy to virtually any area of the body - ankles, knees, hips, the back, hands, wrists, neck, and shoulders. No matter what types of injuries you handle at your clinic, Game Ready can help you deliver therapeutic cold without the discomfort and mess of cold packs and ice baths.
If you're interested in adding Game Ready to the treatment options at your clinic, contact us today to learn more.
Athletes can suffer a broad range of injuries throughout their careers including sprains, strains, ACL tears, rotator cuff damage, and more. At the extreme end of the spectrum, an injury might require surgery and can potentially end a career if not treated properly. On the other hand, minor injuries happen all the time and might keep an athlete off the practice field for a few weeks or months.
Regardless of the extent of the injury, the top priority is always to get the athlete back in the game as quickly as possible without risking further damage or re-injury. This goal can be achieved through a number of approaches including rest, physical therapy, medication, and others. No matter what the treatment protocol, one way to ensure that the injury heals as fast as possible is by using cryotherapy systems.
4 Ways Cryotherapy Systems Accelerate Healing
The benefits of cold therapy are not new to athletic trainers, but new cryotherapy systems with active compression can make the healing process go even faster. This is good news for the medical professionals that regularly work in the sports industry, and great news for the athletes who want to get back in the game.
Cryotherapy systems with active compression help accelerate healing in the following ways:
Better cold delivery - Traditional ice packs draw heat away from the body. Although this is the objective, the unintended consequence is that the ice pack gets warmer, and therefore less effective, over time. Cryotherapy systems use patented technology to continually circulate cold water through a wrap that surrounds the injured area. This means that heat is constantly drawn away from the injury, but the temperature of the cold delivery mechanism never changes.
Less metabolic activity - The application of cold reduces the metabolism of cells, which means that damaged tissues have a better chance to repair themselves.
Better blood flow - Cryotherapy systems that use active compression help promote lymphatic drainage and promote better blood flow. This means that more freshly oxygenated and nutrient-rich blood is delivered to the damaged areas to promote faster healing.
Long-lasting benefits - All of the above effects, in combination with cold that penetrates deeper than it can with traditional ice packs, provide therapeutic benefits that last longer than traditional cold therapy application methods.
Athletic trainers and clinics that treat athletes need to stay on the cutting edge of injury treatment if they want to stay competitive. Adding new technologies like Game Ready can help athletes heal faster, which means they are back on their feet and back in the game more quickly. Contact us today to learn more about how you can get Game Ready in your clinic or athletic department today.
Upper extremity injuries and surgery will inevitably cause disruption in your lifestyle. When surgery is required, either because of a fracture or an acute reccurring injury that does not subside, active participation in your recovery is the best way to return to normal function as quickly as possible.
Your doctor will prescribe a recovery plan that should be closely followed to ensure that the healing process goes smoothly.
Pain immediately after surgery is often treated with medication that is tapered off as soon as it is practical. If you have lingering pain in the weeks after surgery your doctor might recommend non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) to help relieve it. Always talk to your healthcare provider before taking any pain medication and communicate openly about any discomfort you feel.
The combination of rest, ice, compression, and elevation is a standard approach for many injuries, including recovery from surgery.
Getting ample rest is necessary for your body to heal itself. Your body will consume more energy than usual as it repairs tissues and copes with the trauma of surgery.
Using ice or other cold therapy methods is proven to help reduce the swelling and pain that you will experience after surgery.
Compression is used to help remove edema, or excess fluid, and also contributes to the reduction of swelling.
Elevation helps limit swelling by making it more difficult for excess fluids to travel to the affected area. Controlling swelling is important for speeding up the healing process. Although some swelling is normal (and in fact beneficial), too much swelling impedes cellular and tissue repair.
Physical therapy after surgery is essential for restoring strength and flexibility to your injured muscles and other tissues. Some activities that might be included in your therapy include:
- Muscle strengthening exercises to help you return to normal function
- Stretches to increase flexibility and improve mobility
- Activities to help reduce scar tissue on your skin
Always follow the directions from your physical therapist to ensure optimal recovery. Although you may be encouraged to start using your hand or wrist shortly after surgery, too much activity can slow down the healing process. Work closely with your therapist to strike the right balance of activity.
Cold Compression Therapy
Cold compression therapy is recommended for surgery recovery for all the same reasons it is used to treat reoccurring acute injuries. It is more effective than ice packs and static compression bandages, and there is no risk of tissue damage from temperatures that are too cold.
This type of therapy is particularly beneficial for surgery recovery because it helps accelerate the healing process in the following ways:
- Cold reduces cellular metabolism, which reduces cell death and secondary tissue damage
- Active compression removes edema, which can contribute to slower healing
- Active compression increases blood flow, which brings more oxygen for tissue repair
The faster your muscles, ligaments, and tendons can heal after surgery, the more quickly you will be able to return to normal activity. Adding cold compression therapy to your recovery program is the best way to ensure the fastest rehabilitation.
After MCL surgery it is important to strengthen and stretch the muscles surrounding the knee joint. Doing the exercises prescribed by your physical therapist will help you recover more quickly and help prevent future injury to the knee.
Whether you are strengthening or stretching, it is important to follow your therapist's instructions carefully as introducing too much activity too quickly can hinder the MCL recovery
7 Stretching Exercises for After MCL Surgery
Some of the stretching exercises your physical therapist might recommend include:
- Heel prop - Knee hyperextension is one component of proper full range of motion. The heel prop and the next two exercises are designed to improve knee hyperextension. The heel prop is a passive stretching exercise in which your leg rests on a bolster placed at the ankle. Because your foot is slightly elevated, your knee is allowed to be slightly hyperextended. Work with your physical therapist to ensure that you select a correctly sized bolster for this exercise.
- Towel stretch - Using a towel or other static strap wrapped loosely around the ball of your foot, gently pull your toes toward you and allow the knee to hyperextend.
- Active hyperextension - The goal of this exercise is to achieve the same effect as the towel stretch without using a device. With both legs flat while sitting up, using the strength in your quadriceps muscles, lift your heels off the floor.
- Heel slide - Knee flexion is just as important as extension. While lying flat on your back with your knees bent, use a towel or other device to gently pull your heels toward your body.
- Quadriceps stretch - Lay on your side and slightly bend both knees to find a stable position. Deepen the bend in the top leg and bring your heel toward your thigh, gently stretching your muscles in the front of the thigh.
- Hamstring stretch - Lay on your back and bend both knees with your feet flat on the floor. Straighten one leg and use a towel or strap to slowly bring it closer to your body until you feel a stretch in the back of your thigh.
- Calf stretch - Stand facing a wall and bring one foot in front of the other as if you were going to do a lunge. Bend the front leg while keeping the back knee straight and push against the wall while keeping your back heel on the floor.
All of these stretches can be done in combination with other activities that will help you recover more quickly, including active cold and compression therapy. After a physical therapy session, using cryotherapy and compression can help reduce the pain and swelling that you are likely to experience after MCL surgery.
For information about how the Game Ready system provides active cold and compression therapy, ask your doctor or find a provider near you. Having Game Ready lined up before your MCL surgery will help make recovery easier and faster.
What other stretches do you plan to do after MCL surgery?
One of the best ways to ensure that you make a speedy and full recovery after ACL surgery
is to include cryotherapy as part of your rehabilitation plan. Cryotherapy is simply defined as the application of therapeutic cold to an injury. The effects of this therapeutic cold are many, and like other types of therapy, there are techniques you can employ to ensure that you get the most from your efforts.
Why to Use Cryotherapy After ACL Surgery
Cryotherapy is proven to have the following benefits:
- Pain reduction - When you apply cold to any part of your body, the nerve fibers in the area reduce their activity, which lessens your perception of pain, providing an analgesic effect. Cryotherapy also has the effect of reducing muscular activity, which also contributes to a reduction in pain.
- Swelling control - Swelling is a natural part of the inflammatory response that your body will go through after ACL surgery. Although a little swelling is normal, and in fact beneficial, too much swelling can impede the healing process and be uncomfortable for you. Cryotherapy reduces swelling by causing your blood vessels to alternate between dilation and constriction, removing the excess waste and fluid that contributes to swelling.
- Edema reduction - Vasoconstriction and vasodilation also contribute to edema reduction with the same pumping effect that helps control swelling.
- Faster healing - All of these factors combine to contribute to an overall faster healing process. Being in less pain will allow you to comfortably perform the exercises that your physical therapist recommends, and the healing effects of cryotherapy will help you get back on your feet faster.
Enhancing Cryotherapy After ACL Surgery
One way to employ cryotherapy is with the use of ice packs. Although this has been an effective method for decades, modern technology has made major strides that allow you to enhance the benefits of cryotherapy.
One of the drawbacks of ice packs is that they heat up over time and become gradually less effective. New cryotherapy systems use an ice reservoir and a constantly circulating flow of cold water to provide a consistent application of therapeutic cold. In combination with specialized wraps that cover the entire area around the knee joint, you benefit from deeper-penetrating, longer-lasting cryotherapy
Adding active compression to cryotherapy enhances all of its benefits. Active pumping helps remove excess fluid while bringing even more fresh blood and fluid to the damaged tissues to stimulate faster healing.
Game Ready uses patented technology to provide simultaneous active compression with the application of consistent therapeutic cold. Ask your doctor about using Game Ready after ACL surgery or find a provider
Have you tried cryotherapy for other injuries?
One of the most common side effects after ACL or MCL surgery is swelling. This is a result of your body's natural reaction to trauma and is an essential component of the inflammatory response. Inflammation actually helps your body heal, but too much swelling can be uncomfortable and impede the recovery process.
So how do you reduce swelling after knee surgery? The traditional method is RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation), and although this is effective, there is now a better way.
How to Reduce Swelling After ACL or MCL Surgery
The best way to safely reduce swelling after knee surgery is with active cold and compression. Although ice packs are useful, they warm up as heat from your body transfers from your skin to the ice pack. This makes the therapy less effective over time. Static compression is also beneficial for swelling, but it also comes with some drawbacks.
Active Cold Therapy
Cryotherapy is a proven method for reducing the pain and swelling that is associated with knee surgery. The ability to maintain a constant temperature throughout the session enhances the healing effects of the therapy and helps reduce swelling in the following ways:
- Reduction of cellular metabolism - The application of cold slows down the metabolism of your cells, which means that they consume less energy and do not have to work as hard to survive. It also reduces local swelling in cells and other tissues.
- Reduction of excess fluid - Edema, or excess fluid in the body contributes to swelling. Applying cold to the area helps reduce the build-up of this fluid.
- Vasodilation and vasoconstriction - When cold is applied to an area, the underlying blood vessels go through several cycles of dilating and constricting, which helps improve the flow of blood and other fluids, contributing to the reduction of swelling.
Active cold improves all of these cryotherapy benefits by constantly circulating cold water through a patented system and keeping the temperature consistent.
Active Compression Therapy
Static compression is used to reduce edema and swelling, but active compression is a much more effective method for achieving the same effects. Game Ready uses active pneumatic compression to pump air through a specialized wrap that fits around the entire knee joint. This active pumping mimics the body's muscular movements to remove excess fluid and bring fresh blood and nutrients to injured tissues.
The combination of active cold and compression in the Game Ready system can help you reduce swelling after MCL or ACL surgery. You can use this system both immediately after surgery to control pain and swelling, and throughout your recovery.
If you are interested in introducing active cold and compression therapy to your knee surgery recovery, consider renting a Game Ready system. Find a provider near you to learn more about Game Ready and how it can help you reduce swelling and pain.
How much swelling did you experience after knee surgery?
Cryotherapy is commonly used after ACL or MCL surgery to speed up the recovery process and to help reduce pain and swelling. Your body's natural response after knee surgery is inflammation, which is both uncomfortable and impedes healing. Cryotherapy can help control the effects of inflammation so you can get back on your feet faster and with less pain.
is a proven method for reducing pain and swelling
after knee surgery, it does come with some pros and cons.
Cons of Cryotherapy After ACL or MCL Surgery
Cold therapy has been around for a long time, typically in the form of ice water baths or cold packs. Some of the drawbacks that have been discovered over the years include:
- Tissue injury - If the temperature of the ice pack is too cold, it can actually damage skin and other tissues. The inability to regulate cold temperatures historically made cryotherapy more risky than it is today. However, it is still possible to experience tissue damage with ice packs or other forms of cold therapy.
- Heat transfer - When a cold pack is applied to an injured area, heat transfers from your body to the pack, causing it to get warmer and warmer. Although this does not present a health risk, it does make the therapy less effective over time.
Pros of Cryotherapy After ACL or MCL Surgery
When cold is applied to the body, it has several therapeutic effects:
- Less pain - Pain is reduced because nerve activity is slowed down.
- Less swelling - Constriction of the blood vessels helps reduce blood flow to the area, reducing swelling.
- Faster healing - Cellular activity slows down, which contributes to a faster healing process.
There are now ways to get the many health benefits of cryotherapy after knee surgery without risk of tissue injury. Game Ready's patented cold and compression therapy system eliminates the potential problems associated with traditional methods of cryotherapy.
Game Ready uses specialized wraps that allow cold water to continuously circulate around the knee. A separate ice reservoir keeps the water at a constant therapeutic temperature that is not cold enough to damage skin, but stays cold enough to be beneficial throughout the entire session. Game Ready's specialized wraps are also designed to apply cold to the entire area surrounding the joint, which means that cold can penetrate to all the injured areas in the knee.
If you are interested in learning more about Game Ready for your MCL or ACL surgery recovery, ask your doctor or find a local provider.
Have you tried cryotherapy before?
Cryotherapy is a proven method for reducing pain, swelling, and edema. However, simply applying an ice pack has a limited effect on the healing process because the heat from the injury quickly warms it. Active cold therapy systems
enhance the power of ice therapy by providing consistent cooling at a controlled temperature. Some cold therapy systems also include active compression, which further enhances the many benefits of cryotherapy.
Cold Therapy Systems: How They Work
There are two primary problems with ice packs
: they get warmer as the injury transfers heat, and for most injuries it is difficult to completely cover the affected area. Cold therapy systems provide solutions for both of these problems.
- Active Temperature Exchange (ATX) Technology
A static ice pack will start at the right therapeutic temperature, but it won't stay that way for long. To combat this problem, ATX technology continually circulates cold water through an ice reservoir to provide consistent cooling. As the injury warms the water that flows through the system, colder water is brought in to replace it. This constant flow of cold water means that the cold source stays at a consistent therapeutic temperature throughout the session.
- Cold therapy wraps
If you have ever tried to apply an ice pack to a sprained ankle, you know how difficult it is to cover the entire area. Even the most flexible gel pack won't completely surround your ankle, wrist, elbow, knee, or back. Cold therapy wraps with integrated ATX technology are designed to solve this problem. In contrast to gel packs, cold therapy wraps cover more surface area, conform to your body, and provide cold therapy for the entire joint. Cold therapy systems use specialized wraps that are designed for each specific body part. This means that you can select a wrap that specifically treats the injury you have.
A wrap integrated with ATX technology has chambers that allow cold water to flow through. The wrap is connected to an ice reservoir that enables constant cooling. In addition to ATX technology, cold therapy wraps can also employ active pneumatic compression, further enhancing the benefits of cryotherapy and improving fluid circulation in the area.
Game Ready provides innovative cold therapy systems that are proven to be more effective than ice or cooling gel packs. Because the temperature remains constant during the entire application, the therapeutic cold is allowed to penetrate deeper and last longer, helping your body accelerate the healing process. This means less pain and faster recovery for you. Contact Game Ready today to learn how to rent or buy your own cold therapy system.
What challenges have you faced when using ice or gel packs?
Cold therapy systems use advanced technology to provide deep, consistent cooling to injured areas. Combined with active compression, cold therapy can help your body heal more quickly by preventing tissue damage, encouraging healthy circulation, and stimulating tissue repair.
Although many athletes and patients believe that ice water therapy
is sufficient, cold therapy systems provide many more important benefits.
Six Benefits to Cold Therapy Systems
Cryotherapy is a time-tested method for reducing pain, swelling, and edema. Although ice has been the primary cold source for years, cold therapy systems are rapidly becoming the method of choice for doctors, trainers, and surgeons because they offer so many benefits:
- Consistent therapeutic temperature - A constant exchange of cold water with warmer water ensures that the injury site receives the same cold temperature for the duration of the therapy session.
- Deeper cold - Consistent cooling allows the therapeutic cold to penetrate deeper, which means that more of your recovering tissue will benefit from less swelling, pain, and edema.
- Longer lasting cold - A deeper, consistent cooling effect lasts longer after the therapy session has been completed so you will continue to benefit from cryotherapy even after the application of cold has stopped.
- Better coverage - Specialized wraps can cover more surface area than a simple ice pack. Wraps that conform to your body and have more uniform contact allow the therapeutic cold to reach all the damaged tissue in the injured area.
- Less pain - Better coverage and more effective cold therapy means less pain during the recovery process. This not only helps improve your quality of life, but will also allow you to benefit more from physical therapy.
- Faster recovery - All of these factors combine to provide quicker healing and faster recovery from injuries or surgery. The faster you can recover, the more quickly you can get back to normal life, which is perhaps the greatest benefit of all.
Unlike ice water or gel packs, cold therapy systems cover more area and cool at a consistent temperature to provide a deeper, longer-lasting therapeutic effect. If you need cryotherapy, make sure you get the most from it with cold therapy systems.
Game Ready provides cold therapy systems for all types of injuries and surgical recoveries. We also have a new specialized amputee wrap for below-the-knee amputations. Whether you have a sports injury or are recovering from surgery, active cold and compression can help you get back on your feet more quickly. Download our free whitepaper to learn more about Cryotherapy.
How do you think you could benefit from cold therapy?