5 Features To Look For In A Cold Wrap

If you have a recurring knee injury or often have to ice your knee, then you may look into investing in a cold wrap. A cold wrap is an athletic band that can be frozen to apply cold directly to affected areas. Unlike using a bag of ice, a cold wrap will stay in place and offer you greater mobility while you are icing your injury. However, there are many different styles and levels of quality available. When you are considering purchasing a cold wrap, there are several features that you should look for. 

Provides Compression Support 

If you are treating a sprain or inflammation, the traditional treatment is rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE). In general, you will want your cold wrap to be able to provide both the "ice" and the "compression." This will prevent you from having to wrap your injury in addition to icing it, which will save on the number of medical devices that you have to purchase for your injury. 

Most wraps that provide compression support have a wide velcro band that wraps all the way around your injured knee and holds a slightly stretchy material on the front and sides of your knee, where ice is usually applied. 

Does Not Drip 

One of the downsides of ice is that it can drip, running down your leg and onto your furniture, which can be irritating. Some cold wraps utilize gel packs that will suffer from condensation as they warm up. Others have technology that absorbs the condensation as it forms, preventing drips. You will most likely be happier and more comfortable with these no-drip solutions. 

The Cold Lasts a Reasonable Amount of Time 

Cold should be applied in short dosages, generally around 10-20 minutes. While you may be concerned about whether your cold wrap will last a full 20 minutes, you should also be concerned with whether it will warm up within those 20 minutes if you plan to continue wearing the wrap as a compression band after your cooling session. An ideal knee wrap will slowly warm up to skin temperature within 20 minutes and allow you to keep wearing the wrap without adjustments until you are ready for another cooling session. If the wrap stays cold longer than twenty minutes, you will have to remove it and replace it with a non-cooling compression wrap. 

Provides Adequate Coverage 

Depending on your injury, you may need cooling on different areas of your knee. Most cooling wraps offer cooling on the kneecap, similar to holding a bag of ice on top of your knee. However, if your injury is below your kneecap or on the sides of your knee, you may need extended coverage. Wraps that offer a flexible cold layer that fully encompasses your leg are ideal because they will cover all potential injury areas and may be used for multiple injuries or issues. However, some people prefer more concentrated cold. Some wraps will allow you to adjust the placement of the cold source so that it rests directly on your injury, without cooling the rest of your leg. 

Machine Washable 

Many athletes need to cool their joints directly after a workout. If you do not shower before using your knee wrap, it will likely collect a lot of sweat and dirt. Because of this, it is important to make sure that your knee wrap is easy to clean. The bulk of your wrap should be machine washable, and any inserts should be easy to wash under running water. 

Finding the perfect knee cold wrap can help prevent injuries, as well as help you heal faster from current injuries.