My Cart


Reusable Heat & Ice Wraps | Ice Packs Designed by Physical Therapy Professionals Since 1997

Knee Ice Machine or ActiveWrap® Knee Ice Wrap/Ice Packs. Which is Best For Post Op Knee Pain?

Posted on May 18 2023

Ice wraps and cold therapy machines (cryotherapy machines) are the popular options for treating post surgical knee pain and swelling naturally. Both use cold as a medium of therapy to achieve post surgery pain relief. However, they differ significantly in their price, design, and functionality. ActiveWrap® is a hospital grade knee ice wrap that bridges the gap between economy reusable ice packs and costly cold therapy machines with the same proven effectiveness in relieving your pain following a knee surgery. You do have a choice so make sure you consider the key benefits below before heading into your next ACL surgery or total knee replacement.

Cold Therapy Machine — Cryotherapy Freeze Kit System — for Post-Surgery Care, ACL, MCL, Swelling, Sprains, and Other Injur...

Typical ice machine ranging $200-$350 shown here

ActiveWrap® is Simply Less Expensive

First and foremost, ActiveWrap® ice wraps and ice packs are a mere fraction of the price of ice machines which typically incur a rental charge or are tacked on to your surgical bill. Price ranges of these post surgery knee ice machines on Amazon start around $200 and climb all the way to $3000 plus for an over the top luxury ice machine. In addition, a cold therapy machine may or may not come with the cuff needed for your specific surgery (knee surgery, hip surgery and shoulder surgery) as many require a different attachment (at an extra cost). Now granted the unit may take your post op knee pain away but it also might also transfer it to your head in the form of an ache (due to the financial hit you just took for shelling out big dollars for a motorized water cooler). Pay attention to your insurance bill and ask questions about what is being provided to you so you can avoid surprise costs. Most insurance carriers do not cover ice therapy machines like they once blindly did 20 years ago. If they did, America's health premiums would be even more exorbitant. That's why we are seeing top hospitals and surgical centers move to using ActiveWrap® ice wraps. This is a change for the better and where our healthcare system needs to swing. Doctors, orthopedic nurses, and hospital buying groups can venture out of traditional thinking and take a more active role in reducing patient surgical costs.

 Consider this case study, ActiveWrap® saved a top orthopedic hospital and their patients well over a $200k annually by simply moving to ice wraps post op for pain relief. That $1,000,000 in 5 years at one orthopedic hospital! The numbers add up quick and so does the savings. This is not to mention the reduction in opiate pain medications and their terrible side effects. Manufacturers such as ActiveWrap® simply look to create cost effective solutions in the healthcare product space to deliver top quality sports medicine to all levels of income. You do not need to be on a professional athlete's salary to enjoy the same level of healthcare! 

ActiveWrap® is Reusable For Years.

Typical ice machine use might be two weeks tops (on average) after surgery and then it's either returned (if rented) or sent out to your garage to take up space and collect dust.  ActiveWrap® is a long term reusable solution for cold therapy (and or heat therapy) that you can use through the entire rehab process from inpatient, to outpatient PT, and ultimately years of home use as needed. Storage is minimized to the size of a 7” x 10” ice pack that can stay stashed in your freezer ready to go at a moments notice. This makes it a much more convenient, much more affordable option compared to an ice machine, which require frequent refills of ice and water, resulting in ongoing hassle and inconvenience.

ActiveWrap® Delivers Targeted Cold Therapy.

Another main advantages of ActiveWrap® over an ice machine is that it provides targeted customizable cold therapy. A big trend these days is "does it perform 360 degree ice coverage on my knee?" The answer is yes but we prefer less ice behind the knee where there is more risk of frostbite or skin damage. It's common sense....there's less tissue back there to ice so it gets colder faster behind the knee. That's why targeted icing is super helpful. The ActiveWrap® system includes reusable ice packs that can be placed directly on the affected area, providing precise and effective cold therapy to the injury site. In contrast, an ice machine unit uses a pre molded bladder that is filled with ice and water and wrapped around the injured area. While this can also reduce swelling and inflammation, it is not as targeted as ActiveWrap.

Ice machine for knee

ActiveWrap® Comfort Improves Patient Compliance

ActiveWrap is designed to be comfortable to wear and move around while using. Our ice wrap solves an age old problem in hospitals and saves the nursing staff time applying and reapplying the ice packs when a patient needs to get up and go to the bathroom.  The plush wrap adjusts to contour your body. This ensures that the ice pack stays in place and provides effective continuous cold therapy to the injury site. In contrast, an ice machine unit can be noisy, bulky and uncomfortable to wear, with the bladder and wrap sometimes slipping out of place causing discomfort and/or leaking of water which is never fun in a patient's bed.

ActiveWrap® is Lightweight and Portable.

ActiveWrap® is a lightweight and portable solution for cold therapy. Unlike an ice machine there are no parts to break or replace with a reusable ice wrap. In the case of ActiveWrap®, the user has the option to provide heat and ice in the same wrap! This comes in handy down the road when you need heat to reduce stiffness. You can easily take a knee ice wrap with you to work, use it while driving, after workouts, or travel allowing you to continue your treatment regimen without interruption.  In contrast, a cryocuff, or cold therapy machine unit requires a supply of ice and water and power source, which can be difficult to obtain or transport not to mention the overall bulk of carrying the unit itself. Another key feature of ActiveWrap® ice packs /ice wraps specifically compared to other knee ice packs is that ActiveWrap® knee ice wrasps are modular, so freezer space is drastically reduced to the mere size of the ice packs alone. This is huge advantage as traditional built-in ice packs or big rectangle ice packs take up a chunk of valuable freezer space which is not optimal in any setting, clinic or home.

In conclusion, while both ActiveWrap® ice wraps and ice therapy coolers are effective in reducing pain and swelling naturally, ActiveWrap® offers many significant advantages over ice therapy machines: 

  • Significantly Less Cost (No Rental or Insurance Hassle)
  • Targeted Cold Therapy Specific To Your Needs
  • Comfort & Quick, Easy & Convenient
  • Mobility and Portability
  • Years of Lasting Pain Relief.
  • Option for Heat and/or Ice

Ultimately, the choice is yours. If you looking to save a big chunk of money and apply it to your important future physical therapy co-pays or perhaps that gym/yoga membership to get back to strength post-op than consider an ActiveWrap®Ice Wrap with reusable ice packs to take with you on the road to recovery. If you have extra money to burn and you want to pay upwards of 5x the price (for one the cheaper knee ice machines) or go even more extravagant and pay close to $3000 for a motorized unit then opt for the ice therapy machine. Regardless, chances are you will come back and grab an ActiveWrap® ice wrap and a couple reusable ice packs simply to make life easy.

Injuries are painful enough researching and finding the best product shouldn't be. Get Active...Stay Active with ActiveWrap®.