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10 Best Ice Packs for Knee Pain

by Jessica Hegg April 12, 2017

Knees

Knee pain can take you from active to sedentary in three point five. Whether you're recovering from surgery, dealing with an injury, or just fighting through your joints' wear and tear from daily use, using the best ice pack for knee pain is a wise choice. Cold therapy is one of the best ways to ensure your knees keep moving you forward. Icing helps to minimize swelling and reduce pain, but not all ice packs are created equal. The days of slapping a bag of frozen vegetables on your knee are over. Let’s look at ten of the best ice packs for knees.

1. Übertherm Compression Ice Pack and Brace

Übertherm Compression Ice Pack and Brace

Amazon

The first ice pack on our list is a two-in-one ice pack and brace to treat your pain while preventing future injury. The ice pack/brace is made of alternating conducting and insulating materials to maintain a constant temperature without burning your skin. This is one of the highest quality packs on the list, so go with Übertherm if you’re looking for a long-term investment.

Pros:
  • Provides compression and support to prevent future injury
  • Ice Pillow maintains temperature and prevents burns
  • Stays in place; perfect to wear during your daily routine
  • Customers rave about Übertherm’s service
Cons:
  • Ice packs tend to lack flexibility

2. Shock Doctor ICE Recovery Compression Knee Wrap

Shock Doctor ICE Recovery Compression Knee Wrap

Amazon

The Shock Doctor wrap’s main appeal is compression. Along with pain management, the purpose of cold therapy is to reduce swelling—and adding compression is a game-changer. For compression, fit is everything. That’s why the Shock Doctor wrap comes in three sizes and features adjustable straps. While this is fantastic for reducing swelling, it limits knee mobility, so it’s not the best choice if you intend to be active while icing.

Pros:
  • Gentle compression helps reduce swelling
  • Complete coverage ices your entire knee, front to back
Cons:
  • Limited joint mobility means you’ll be sedentary while icing
  • Gel packs tend to slip out of pockets

3. Polar Ice Standard Knee Wrap

Polar Ice Standard Knee Wrap

Amazon

This is one of the most popular knee ice wraps on Amazon. It does the job—at a great price. This pack cools 360 degrees, the back of your knee along with the front, and it extends from mid-calf to just above the knee. There’s a layer of soft fleece between your skin and the cold to prevent burn—because nobody ices hoping to feel more pain.

Pros:
  • 360-degree coverage ices around your entire knee
  • Does the job without the bells and whistles
  • Not bulky; slim and comfortable with soft fleece lining
Cons:
  • Tends to run small
  • Loses temperature after half hour; not great for travel

4. O2 Cold and Compression Knee Wrap

O2 Cold and Compression Knee Wrap

Amazon

Coming in at number five, the O2 wrap is the real deal when it comes to compression. It includes an air pump to take swelling reduction to the next level. Just pump air into the wrap, and you have maximum compression to knock out every bit of swelling. The wrap is slim, and the ice packs get extremely cold, so it’s great for icing on the go. But do be careful if you have sensitive skin. The low temperature combined with compression means you may need to use a cloth to keep your skin from getting burned.

Pros:
  • Includes an air pump for maximum compression and swelling reduction
  • Slim design and cold temperatures make it great for travel
  • One of the best as far as temperature consistency; gets cold and stays cold
Cons:
  • Does not encompass or cool the back of the knee
  • Not good for sensitive skin; may cause freeze burn

5. Cold Compress Therapy Wrap by Arctic Flex

Cold Compress Therapy Wrap by Arctic Flex

Amazon

If you struggle with knee pain but don’t want to invest in an ice pack you can only use for your knees, the Cold Compress by Arctic Flex is the way to go. The gel ice pack molds to the contours of your body, remaining pliable even when frozen. That, combined with its versatile shape, means this ice pack is good for shoulders, back, shins, quads, and yes, knees. You never know when you might lift something too heavy or twist the wrong way and be dealing with unexpected pain. You’ll be glad to have this around.

Pros:
  • One of the most comfortable options for sedentary icing
  • Gel material allows the pack to form to any part of the body, making it super versatile
  • At a price that won’t break the bank, it’s durable and reusable
Cons:
  • Sedentary icing

6. Knee Wrap with Gel Sleeve

Knee Wrap with Gel Sleeve

Amazon

This wrap earned the six spot for its sheer simplicity. The one-piece ice pack wraps around your knee and fastens, meaning it fits perfectly without sizing options. The downside is that the wrap extends only a short distance above and below the kneecap. But the oversized surface area means that everywhere it does touch is benefiting. The breathable material is medical-grade, and it comes with a money-back guarantee—so if you’re not sure, this one is worth taking a chance on.

Pros:
  • Maximum surface area provides cold therapy over the entire kneecap
  • Stays in place during activity; get up and move around!
  • Durable material; never worry about tears
Cons:
  • Does not cool back of knee or far above/below kneecap

7. ActiveWrap Knee Wrap

ActiveWrap Knee Wrap

Amazon

Coming in at number seven, this wrap comes in three sizes and is a great choice if comfort is at the top of your list. It's made of plush-prene and includes two reusable gel ice packs that won't freeze solid. The wrap is designed to stay in place if you need to get up and move around, so you won’t feel tied to your couch while icing.

Pros:
  • Stays in place during daily activity
  • 360-degree coverage ices all around your knee
  • Comfortable material makes icing a pleasant experience
Cons:
  • Limits joint mobility

8. Cold One Knee Ice Pack with Compression

Cold One Knee Ice Pack with Compression

Amazon

The Cold One pack’s sewn-in ice packs mean you don’t have to worry about the packs falling out during light activity. Toss the whole thing in the freezer, and you’re good to go. It also includes compression and 360-coverage for complete recovery. You’re getting cold therapy on the front and back of your knee, plus compression to knock out swelling.

Pros:
  • Sewn-in gel ice packs will never fall out
  • Compression and 360-degree coverage mean you’re doing everything you can for your recovery
  • Comfortable material and secure fit make this wrap perfect for light activity while icing
Cons:
  • Limited joint mobility; don’t try any leg raises
  • More expensive than other options

9. A to P Total Knee Wrap

A to P Total Knee Wrap

Amazon

For ease of use, turn to the A to P knee wrap. The design makes it simple to secure to your knee, and it extends all the way from mid-calf to mid-thigh. If your pain radiates above and below your kneecap, this means total relief. The ice packs are not gel and do freeze solid, so if your knee is tender, this may not be right for you.

Pros:
  • Covers a huge area for full relief from radiating pain
  • Easy to use and allows joint movement
Cons:
  • Not a perfectly secure fit
  • Ice packs freeze solid, which can cause pain

10. FlexiKold Gel Ice Pack

FlexiKold Gel Ice Pack

Amazon

Our final ice pack is a versatile option for someone who needs a solution for more than just knee pain. The FlexiKold gel pack is big enough to ice your lower back, shoulders, and other body parts, as well as knees. It’s flexible and molds to your body, but there are no straps to secure it to your leg, so this isn’t the best choice if you intend to be active while icing.

Pros:
  • Versatile shape is good for more than just knees
  • Freezes quickly for immediate pain relief
  • Soft and flexible; a good choice for post-op treatment
Cons:
  • Does not secure to knee with straps or Velcro

The Benefits of Cold Therapy for Knee Pain

When knee pain hits, we need relief. Cold therapy is the easiest, most effective way to treat joint pain. Icing has three major benefits:

  • Numbs the pain for immediate relief

  • Reduces inflammation, which causes pain and stiffness

  • Manages swelling, a major source of joint pain

Features to Consider for Knee Ice Pack Temperature

Look for an ice pack that maintains a consistent temperature. The ice shouldn’t melt too fast, and it shouldn’t get cold enough to burn your skin.

Material

An ice pack’s material should be soft, high-quality, and thick enough to protect your skin from the cold. The material should also be flexible, if the pack is intended for use while performing daily activities.

Fit

If the design doesn’t ensure a secure fit, the pack should offer appropriate sizing options. A pack that’s too loose won’t do its job, and one too tight will create more problems for your knees.

The first issue you’re going to have with being active while icing is your ice pack falling off. Look for an ice pack with:

  • A wrap-around design. That means the pack goes all the way around your knee and keeps it secured to your leg.

  • Sizing options. While one size fits all makes ordering easy, it’s not always a positive. Choosing the correct size for your knee means the ice pack is more likely to fit snug and remain locked on while you go about your day.

  • High-quality materials. This is a biggie. A cheaply made ice pack will likely stretch and fall off, especially after multiple uses.

Durability

An ice pack should be durable enough to stand up to consistent use. Especially if the price point is high, nobody wants to see ripped seams or leaking ice inserts.

Versatility

This ice pack is going to look a little different:

  • Typically a flat design

  • May or may not be reusable

  • No added support or compression

If you’re dealing with multiple injuries and want a single ice pack to treat all of them, go with a versatile pack. You might also purchase this type of ice pack as a back-up or a “just in case” pack, for those injuries that pop up unexpectedly. This is your jack of all trades ice pack. It won’t treat your knees quite as well, and you won’t be able to move around while icing. But it can take care of more than just knee pain.

Support

Depending on the severity of your knee injury and pain, you may want extra support to make sure you stay safe while you’re icing. A two-in-one ice pack and brace will keep your knee stable during your activities.

Flexibility

Yes, I know we just talked about stability, but even with a brace, it’s important to have flexible material. It should stretch and mold to the contours of your joint. This is important for comfort and practicality. You want the cold close to your skin, and flexible material makes that happen. If you’re active while icing, this is doubly important. While you’re moving around, the ice pack can shift. Good, stretchy material will keep the ice close to your skin so you get all the benefits it provides.

Ready to Kick Knee Pain to the Curb?

After deciding what you’re looking for in an ice pack, take your time and select one that’s going to provide everything your knees need for a full recovery. Joint pain is serious business. It can stop you from being active, spending time with friends and family, and living your life to the fullest. Choosing a good ice pack is the first step to staying on your feet and getting back to doing the things you love.

Jessica Hegg
Jessica Hegg


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