Using Ice After Knee Surgery - Everything You Need To Know About

Using Ice After Knee Surgery – Everything You Need To Know About

No one understands the phrase “you are entering a world of pain” better than someone who has just had knee surgery. Lots of endurance is required.

In this article, I will tell you how ice can save you from “a world of pain” after you undergo knee surgery.

Knee Surgery

There are many types of knee surgery. These are all medical names, but someone who has undergone any of the procedures will know them: partial knee replacement surgery, full knee replacement surgery, meniscectomy, meniscus repair, meniscus transplant, plica surgery, lateral release, tendon repair, ACL reconstructive surgery, and micro-fracture surgery.

And all these procedures have in common the agony the patient has to endure post-surgery. Doctors often prescribe some oral pain medication during the first several weeks after the operation.

Ice Therapy Machines

Doctors also recommend ice therapy machines which numb or sooth the affected area. The ice therapy machine works by temporarily deadening your nerve endings, hence affording you some pain relief.

The machine also helps prevents secondary tissue damage by retarding cellular metabolism. Using the ice therapy machine helps reduce swelling in the affected area. As a result, ice therapy machines can reduce surgery recovery time.

Ice packs

But if you don’t own a cryotherapy machine, you can still get pain relief using ice packs.

However, ensure you consult your doctor before using ice packs to relieve the pain after knee surgery. The doctor will instruct you on what is safe for your particular case and what is not. Please remember that.

You can either buy an ice pack or make your own.

What To Look For In A Commercial Ice Pack?

If you need an ice pack after undergoing knee surgery, these are some of the qualities you should look for:

  • ​Lasting ability: You want an ice pack that can maintain the desired temperature for a long time. Otherwise you will have to refreeze often.
  • Agreeableness: You want something comfortable, which won’t irritate or stick to your skin.
  • Durability: You want an ice pack that will last a long time, something machine washable. Washing the pack helps keep it sanitary.

How To Make An Ice Pack?

You will need:

  • A plastic freezer bag.
  • Two cups of water.
  • One cup of rubbing alcohol.


  • Pour two cups of water and one cup of rubbing alcohol into a freezer bag and seal it shut.
  • Expel as much air as you can from the freezer bag before sealing it.
  • Place the bag with the water in it into a second freezer bag to eliminate leakage.
  • Stick the bag in the freezer for not less than an hour.
  • When you take out the ice pack, wrap it in a towel when you use it to avoid burning your skin.


In spite of all its benefits, not all doctors recommend using ice. And not because ice is ineffective in any way. It’s because many people apply ice therapy in the incorrect way, and that can complicate matters.

You see, if you place fresh ice directly on your limb, the ice will burn your skin (frostbite). It may also reduce blood flow and lymph circulation. So whenever you use a fresh ice pack, ensure you wrap it in a piece of cloth before placing it on your knee.


I will close by repeating my earlier appeal. Before you use ice therapy post-surgery, ensure you consult your doctor. As we established earlier, there are numerous types of knee surgery. Your doctor will know what pain management technique most suits your particular situation.


  • Updated March 9, 2018
  • Ice
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