10 Best Ice Packs for Runners Tested

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Cool off overheated and sore muscles with a review of the best ice packs and CryoTherapy tools currently available for runners in this big review guide!

There is no denying that a bag of frozen peas can be a surprisingly useful ice pack. That said there are quite a few limitations a bag of peas is going to have (clumps of frozen peas, limited coverage). If you’re serious about taking care of your body you can do better than a bag of frozen vegetables.

If anyone needs a refresher on why ice is so important after strenuous exercise check here. Running is a sport of repetitive motion and with this repetitive motion comes a good deal of wear and tear. Ice is widely accepted to be the best treatment for not only addressing the general inflammation of running but any acute injuries that crop up as well.

10 Best Ice Packs for Runners

Roscoe Medical Hot & Cold Reusable Gel Pack

There is nothing fancy about this ice pack but it’s a good foundation to start from. Everyone should have a couple of these handy packs on around due to their versatility and effectiveness. These type of packs are a dime a dozen really, but we included the one made by Roscoe Medical because of the strength of its seams. One big drawback of these types of packs (especially with heavy use) is that the seams can split leaving you with blue-ish goo all over you and the couch. With the Roscoe Hot & Cold Pack this should not be an issue.
Pros
  • Helps assist with a variety of aches/pains in different body parts
  • Good for sprains, contusions, headaches and even toothaches
  • Three convenient sizes
  • Won’t freeze solid like a block, maintains flexibility
Cons
  • Has a chemical smell at first

CryoCup

This is a handy ice massage tool that can breath life into tired and sore legs. Research (and our own experience) shows that icing can be more effective when a good bit of pressure is applied with the ice. Add in the motion of moving the CryoCup around and it’s easy to understand how this method can reach deeper into the muscle tissue and achieve better results. One point of caution, when applying ice directly to the skin be sure not to overexpose one area as this can result in frostbite. Back on the plus side your fingers won’t freeze when applying the ice and this product is much more eco-friendly than throwing away Dixie cups every week. If you’ve never tried it before an ice massage can be life changing!
Pros

 

  • User friendly, Convenient, self icing tool
  • Plastic handle does not conduct cold temperature leaving your hands unaffected; simply fill cup with water toss in the freezer
  • Can be used for sensory stimulation, splint cooling, or general muscle workover
  • Indefinitely reusable (eco-friendly) easy to clean
  • Easy to use, simple straightforward

 

Cons
  • May start to crack after long use, due to repeated hot/cold transitions

Moji MK2 Knee Ice Wrap

Moving to a slightly higher therapeutic grade we have the Moji MK2 Knee Wrap. This product consists of a compression knee wrap and a cold cell that is specifically design to fit around your knee. The knee is a tough body part to ice due to its irregular shape. With the Moji MK2 this is no issue with the cold compression getting just where it needs to. Each Moji cold cell is soft and flexible straight out of the freezer, and it stays chilled for the duration of a standard 20 minute icing protocol. If you suffer from any knee issues the MK2 is certainly worth considering.
Pros

 

  • 2 part compression wrap made from pliable material
  • Polartec high performance material, adjustable closures for variable pressure
  • Convenience and mobility — walk around the house while you ice
  • The Moji cold cell’s contours to the knee and stays in place
  • The cold surface consists of 18 individual cells that secure the gel packets in place

 

Cons
  • Some wished it was a bit larger

Polar Ice Foot and Ankle Wrap, Cold Therapy Ice Pack

For any type of soft tissue trauma in the foot/ankle area strapping on the Polar Ice Foot can be a great first step in treating yourself. Reduce swelling, control pain and hopefully return yourself to full function as soon as possible. This is another custom designed icing implement that will more thoroughly cover your ankle than an all purpose pack ever will. On the interior the Polar Ice foot has encapsulated ice packs full up with purified water. On the exterior you have a soft fleece that is easy on the skin and protects from frostbite. Combine the two with a smart design and you’ve got a winning ice pack.
Pros

 

  • Polar Ice is great for cold therapy after surgery, when recovering from injuries, or for simple preventive maintenance
  • Build to articulate perfectly around the ankle, providing as much coverage as possible
  • Has hook & loop closure straps
  • Surface has soft fleece covering to protect skin
  • They make a similar ice wrap built for the knee

 

Cons
  • It could be a bit more pliable

Pro-Tec Athletics Hot/Cold Therapy Wrap

If you’re looking for something a little bit less specified that can be utilized for multiple purposes the Pro-Tec Athletics Therapy Wrap is good pick. The wrap affords a snug, comfortable, and direct ice/heat compress to a variety of body parts. The wrap comes with a hot/cold compress which easily slides into a pocket in the wrap — this ensures that it will never slip out of place. The wrap itself is easy to adjust and remains flexible even when in a fixed position. In terms of universal wraps this is simply one of the best options out there.
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Specs:

Material: Polyester 45% Neoprene 55%

Size: Varies, depending on which option you choose

Color: Blue/Black
Pros

 

  • Provides a deep penetrating cold and/or heat compress for therapeutic uses
  • Is form fitting but does not constrict while applied
  • Dual strapping system ensures uniform compression and holds the pack firmly in place
  • Best for knees, ankles, feet, wrists and elbows — but can be used essentially anywhere
  • Comes in two convenient size that will cover most people

 

Cons
  • A few suggest that it be made a bit wider

TheraPearl Shin Wraps, Reusable Hot Cold Therapy

The shins are one part of your body that can take a real beating when it comes to running. Shin splints, calf strains, stress fractures — you name it. Why not give them a bit of TLC? The TheraPearl Shin Wraps are a great way to go about this. They smoothly envelop your calves/shins and provides a calming chill or an invigorating burst of warmth (depending on what you need). These wraps have a double velcro adjustable strap set which makes sure that they stay in place properly. They also are guaranteed to hold their therapeutic temperature for a minimum of 20 minutes. Don’t let shin issues keep you out of comission, flight back with the TheraPearl Wraps!
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ProTip: These wraps are slim enough to fit underneath any pants, so if needed throw them on at the office and take a load off your shins while you work.
Pros

 

  • Shin wraps are perfect for shin splints, stress fractures and more
  • Specifically engineered to hold temperature for the medically recommended period of time
  • Simply pop in the freezer or toss in the microwave
  • Made from non-toxic materials
  • Latex and BPA free

 

Cons
  • Some wish that they would adjust tighter

Raniaco Gel Ice Pack,Hot Cold Therapy Wrap

If you want to feel free from the pain this is a product for you. It may be used as a cold pack but it also works as a hot pack. It was made to relieve pain in your back, neck, shoulder, ankle and head. It’s reusable so you can use it with pulled muscles and next time with toothache. The material is very smooth. When you need to feel the relief, put it into microwave oven or if you want cold pack, you must put it in the freezer. This product won’t drip water on your clothes. Well-constructed wrap divided into free sections doesn’t loosen.
Pros

Easy to use

Perfect for sport injuries such as sprains and pulled muscles

Small and lightweight

It has Velcro straps to easily adjust the tightness and it keeps an ice in right place

It freezes really fast

Cons

Some users complained about too much gel in first section and less gel in two other sections

NatraCure Universal Cold Pack Ice Wrap

NaturaCure is a company who uses biodegradable materials. This ice pack is very pliable and you can curve it in any way you want around knee, ankle , shoulder and other parts of the body. Velcro strap helps to stay the pack in place. Very lightweight and quiet thin to make it more comfortable. Pain of sprain or inflammation will disappear in short period of time. It also works for plantar fasciitis. Perfect for people with Carpal tunnel syndrome. It’s totally worth the money but to be clear it’s not very expensive though. You can even slip in it.
Pros

Fits perfectly wide feet

Takes less than hour to make it cold

Easy to replace the ice pack and adjust the tightness

Soft and flexible

It’s washable and removable

Starts to relieve pain in few seconds

You can wear it on the socks

Cons

Reviewers said it could held cold for longer

FlexiKold Gel Cold Pack

This cold therapy with this product will let you feel refreshing pain relief. It was double sealed in order to keep gel in place. The product is quiet thin as there’s not a lot of gel in it but it still makes it super extra cold. As there’s less gel than in other products, it is more flexible and pliable. Helps with inflammation, swelling and muscle pains. The nylon cover is much more convenient than the other plastic ones and it’s smooth in the touch. There’s also a neck contour version available, especially designed for neck pain. Very durable, excellent product for people who use it frequently. It’s more expensive than some of other products on our list but it’s totally worth it.
Pros

Covers a really wide area of the body

It stays cold for hours so there’s possibility to sleep with it

The material is easy to clean

There are many sizes available

It’s perfect to use it on your back

Cons

Buyers complained about not enough gel moving from side to side

Chattanooga ColPac Cold Therapy

The last product on our list, designed for runners suffering from sprains, pulled muscles, strains and a lot other issues. The material isn’t lightweight but it can easily cover the whole parts of your body, providing pain relief in few seconds. It’s latex-free so it doesn’t irritate your skin The gel is also well-made substance and doesn’t harden too much. Comparing to other sport cold packs, there’s no problem with leaking and the material is very flexible. It really helps to deal with swelling. This product is a compress for many body parts and contours them well. There are four styles available.
Pros

Needs only two hours in the freezer to be ready

It stays really cold for about 30 minutes

The price is very attractive for such a big ice pack

It doesn’t slide and stays in one position

Very durable, doesn’t stretch after many usages

Cons

You shouldn’t sleep with it

This is only cold therapy so don’t try to put it in the microwave

Icing is a form of cryotherapy that can be practiced in a variety of different ways. Below we’ll be focused on the most basic one, good old fashioned ice compresses and pac

ks. But your self treatment need not end there. Of late professional athletes and celebrities have begun popularizing a form of cryotherapy that immerses your whole body (safely) in a machine that blasts you with sub zero temperatures for a short period of time. This is said to have the benefits of standard icing to an exponential power (among other things).

There machines are quite expensive, but there are clinics starting to open around the the US which offer this treatment on an outpatient basis. If you are interested in this read on more information is at the bottom of the article.

Ultimately whether or not you decide to try out a cryotherapy machine investigating which ice packs are best for runners is definitely worth a couple minutes. The way a pack is designed and cut can have a drastic impact on its effectiveness, not to mention its level of user friendliness


The Criteria that we used for finding the best Ice Packs

We’re working really hard to make our readers happy with their choices. Here’s the list of the important factors that you should consider before purchasing the products

Time of working and using it hot

This is a crucial question that needs to be considered. Many people complain about products not staying cold for long time. The good ice pack should be put on your body for about 20-30 minutes.  Many buyers also tend to look for products which are also hot packs- this means that instead of putting it in the freezer you put it in the microwave.

The size

While choosing the best size of your product, you should consider what’s the aim of its usage. If you’re going to use it on small parts of your body like knees or hands, you don’t need to purchase a big one. It’s the different story if you look for a relief for your back, shoulders or arms. You must be aware that ice pack must fit around the whole area of the arm, leg and etc. It’s usually better to buy bigger one because it may be a little heavier but it will still work with smaller parts of the body. Remember also that even for back, a product  shouldn’t be too heavy because you may have problem with keeping it in the freezer.

The material

The material of the Ice Pack should be high quality, durable and very pliable in order to fit the body correctly. Seams must be well-made and they can’t split or in other way, you and your clothes may be colored by the gel or any other substance. After taking it out of freezer, the gel or any other substance should be flexible to easily fit the shape of the limb. Avoid products in which liquid substance stays only on one side of the pack.

Other important factors worth considering

How often and who will use it?

This may be less important aspect, but for us it’s quiet crucial. On the market, there are two main types- for single use and for regular use. There’s also a question if you’re going to be the only one who uses it? Maybe other members of your family want to try it out. You should contemplate these two point and decide which option is better for you.

The price

Many people may think that Ice Packs shouldn’t be very expensive and they really aren’t. You have a wide range of prices- from 20 dollars products to those which price may be higher than 50 dollars. However , the most expensive products aren’t always the best ones. You should personalize your product. We would recommend chcecking the price after considering the other important factors. Remember also that if you need Ice Pack for back it won’t cost the same as an Ice Pack for wrist.

 

CryoTherapy Frequently Asked Questions

 

Who developed this technology?

Cryotherapy is a technique that was developed by Japanese scientists to treat patients with arthritis. It has gained popularity and has been studied further throughout Europe. 

How exactly does Cryotherapy work?

Cryotherapy utilizes the gaseous form of nitrogen to cool a person’s skin to a temperature that is thirty to fifty degrees lower than normal for approximately two to three minutes. There is no actual contact between the person and the nitrogen gas. The gas is only used to cool the chamber. When the skin begins to feel the extremely cold temperature, the brain begins to fire regulatory functions and also releases endorphins and natural anti inflammatories.

 

 Who uses full body CryoTherapy?

This treatment has the potential to be of benefit to anyone. The Cleveland Cavaliers and celebrities such as Tony Robbins have been known to use it.  The average consumer will likely not afford a CryoSauna of their own, but clinics are always an option as well.

Is it comfortable?

It’s a more than tolerable process. You are required to wear some protective cover on your extremities — and the worst you are likely to face is some pins and needles afterwards.

How will my body feel post-treatment?

Everyone’s experience is different but ideally you will feel relaxed, more energetic and in a good mood (due to the release of endorphins and hormones). Not to mention the easing of accumulated inflammatory wear and tear on the body.

Can I catch a cold because of this procedure?

No, a CryoTherapy session raises your body’s internal temperature for just a short time, which is meant to stimulate your immune system, potentially increasing your ability to fight off a cold.

 

We like to provide a balanced view of a topic and there is no doubt full body CryoTherapy has its skeptics. WebMD has offered a few helpful opinions (some positive, some skeptical).


 

Here are some great sources we came across while conducting some of our research:

Sources

  1. Runner's World, Cold Call, Running Publication, Dec 01, 2009
  2. CWI Medical, Runners And Ice Packs, Clinical information,
  3. Runners Connect, STOP Icing Your Running Injuries Right Now, Running information,
  4. Competitor.com, Burning Runner: Don’t Take Ice For Granted Read more at http://running.competitor.com/2011/03/injury-prevention/burning-runner-dont-take-ice-for-granted_23050#gSf66UM5jfhuxkE8.99, Sports & Fitness publication, Mar 14, 2011
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