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.Although cryotherapy 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.
Have you tried cryotherapy before?