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Best ice gel packs for sports injuries in runners and athletes - Buying Guide: 2022

Every sport has a certain risk of injury, and athletics and running are no exception. To give you an idea, in this article we will talk about the main sports injuries suffered by runners and athletes.

Cold therapy and thermotherapy are essential in the treatment of these injuries. Fortunately, today we will tell you when to use cold or heat depending on the injury you want to treat. We will also show you how to use heat/cold gel packs to successfully treat sports injuries in runners and athletes.

What is the best ice gel pack for runners injuries?

Gelpacks Direct - Gel ice pack for knee pain relief with Compress Wrap
  • Material: Nylon
  • Uses: Knee
  • Type of adjustment: Velcro strap
  • Cover: Yes
  • No. of units: 1
  • Adjustable strap
  • Protective cover
  • Hot/cold therapy
  • Quality materials
  • Only one per order
  • Only one size
Thanks to the Gelpacks Direct hot and cold pack, you can apply compression therapy, cryotherapy and thermotherapy to the knee, all in one product. This is due to its design, which allows the removal of reusable heating pads to be placed in the microwave or refrigerator, and its elastic strap that generates the compression necessary for the stimulation of blood circulation and joint alignment.

It is lined with a soft fabric that prevents slippage and maintains comfort. It also has an adjustable, perforated strap made of synthetic material, which can cause irritation to the front of the knee. It is ideal for relieving pain from muscle tears and inflammation of patellar ligaments, thanks to the combination of complementary treatments that are applied naturally.

World-Bio - Reusable Ice Pack for Knee Swelling, Sports Injury, Bursitis, Arthritis and Joint Pain
  • Material: Nylon
  • Uses: Knee
  • Type of adjustment: Velcro strap
  • Cover: Yes
  • No. of units: 1
  • Adjustable strap
  • Hot/cold therapy
  • Only one unit per order
Don't wait any longer to recover from a knee injury. You can use cold therapy and combine it with thermotherapy, thanks to the use of the thermal packs of the World-Bio knee brace. Its design is intended to relieve pain from sports injuries, patellar tendonitis and knee sprains and its ergonomic structure does not deform during use, helping the central cavity to fit perfectly on the kneecap.

It is also suitable for people with arthritis who suffer from cartilage wear, it is only necessary to use the microwave and freezer to achieve the temperature indicated for the treatment. It is made with soft, strong seams that help keep the medical grade gel in place. Keep in mind that in some cases the liquid inside may leak out after some time.

Vive - Ice Gel Packs for Knee pain, Arthritis, Surgery and Workout Pain Relief
  • Material: Nylon
  • Uses: Knee
  • Type of adjustment: Velcro strap
  • Cover: Yes
  • No. of units: 2
  • Quality stitching
  • 2 Gel Packs
  • Heat/cold therapy
  • Optimal fit
  • Only one per order
  • Short therapy duration
Maintain your sporting performance at all times by recovering from knee injuries as quickly as possible. You can do this with a Vive knee wrap, which gives you the possibility to apply hot and cold therapy to relieve pain from arthritis, surgery and patellar tendonitis. It can be used by both men and women, and thanks to its breathable material you can increase the time of use.

The removable heating pads, together with the gel band around the patella, combine compression with temperature for more effective relaxation effects, while still protecting and insulating sensitive areas. The versatile design stabilises both kneecaps, so you can use this brace on both legs. Please note that in some patients the upper band is insufficient and can easily come off.

NEENCA - Knee Brace with Ice Pack Wrap for Meniscus Tear, Joint Pain and Injury Recovery
  • Material: Nylon
  • Uses: Knee
  • Type of adjustment: Velcro strap
  • Cover: Yes
  • No. of units: 3
  • 3 Gel Packs
  • Adjustable compression with quality finish
  • One size fits all
If you want to find a product that is effective and doesn't make you spend extra money, you can choose the NEENCA ice pack wrap. There are several reasons why you should combine compression therapy with a complementary hot and cold treatment. One of them is that you will keep your knee stabilised and you will be able to control the temperature for better blood circulation to help eliminate toxins lodged in the tissues.

This kneecap support has 4 adjustable straps strategically placed to immobilise harmful movements, which will also prevent muscle tears. You only have to remove the heating pads and place them on the inside, after getting the necessary temperature in the microwave or refrigerator. It is important to know that, in some cases, the heat does not last long and causes some discomfort.

NEWGO - Ankle Ice Pack Wrap for Plantar Fasciitis and Ankle Swelling
  • Material: Nylon
  • Uses: Ankle
  • Type of adjustment: Strap with Velcro
  • Cover: Yes
  • No. of units: 1
  • Heat/cold therapy
  • Adjustable compression
  • Protective cover
  • Quality materials
  • Not suitable for microwave use
  • One size only
It is possible to apply the NEWGO thermal wrap for heat or cold therapy. By simply placing the gel pack in the microwave or refrigerator for the time recommended by the manufacturer, you will achieve the necessary medical temperature to accelerate blood circulation. It is suitable for arthritis and Achilles tendonitis, as its ergonomic design of soft and durable materials wraps around the entire ankle and plantar area.

Don't forget, support and support are important factors in shortening recovery time for any type of foot disorders, which is an advantage of this elastic ankle brace. It can be used by any adult after physical training or for resting at home, although you have to consider that the quality of the material can irritate the skin.

Apasiri - Ankle Ice Pack Wrap for Relieving Ankle and Foot Sports Injuries
  • Material: Nylon
  • Uses: Ankle and Knee
  • Type of adjustment: Strap with Velcro
  • Cover: Yes
  • No. of units: 1
  • Extra ice pack
  • Adjustable velcro strap
  • Not microwaveable
Make your foot's recovery faster while maintaining comfort for your lifestyle. That's why we recommend the use of the Apasiri ankle ice wrap. Its structure is composed of a neoprene fabric with elastic straps with velcro closure and a pack suitable for placing hot or cold water, without chemical gels.

Thanks to this design it is possible to easily use the cold pack together with the bandage, without spilling any liquid . You will be able to more effectively relieve the pain of arthritis, ankle sprains, strains and plantar fasciitis by simply using the heat splint three or four times a day. It is important to keep in mind that the temperature retention may be low due to the material of the water bag.

Magic Gel - Leg Ice Pack with Professional Cold Therapy for Injuries, Sprains and Arthritis
  • Material: Nylon
  • Uses: Legs
  • Type of adjustment: None
  • Cover: No
  • No. of units: 1
  • Large size for the whole leg
  • Quality finish
  • Not very flexible
The Magic Gel Leg Wrap is the ideal product to use to combat symptoms of fatigue and lack of oxygenation in the lower body. It is designed to be used by men and women who need to treat calf or hamstring muscle pulls as well as swollen kneecaps.

To use this product and get the most out of it, just freeze it until it reaches the required temperature, then use it on the leg to stimulate the relaxation of the tissues. It does not deform with use and its flexibility allows for better support in critical areas that are often injured. As it does not restrict movement, you can use this professional cold pack at any time of the day, but you should be aware that its material is not breathable, which accumulates moisture in the leg.

Euphoria Bliss - Hot and Cold Reusable and Flexible Gel Ice Pack for Pain Relief with velcro Straps
  • Material: Nylon
  • Uses: Back, Shoulders, Neck, Waist and Legs
  • Type of adjustment: Velcro strap
  • Cover: No
  • No. of units: 1
  • Various models
  • Fully adjustable
  • Heat/cold therapy
  • Suitable for pets
  • Short therapy duration
  • Bulky design
The Euphoria Bliss reusable wrap is ideal for relieving hamstring pain, decompressing knee swelling and eliminating bruising through heat and cold therapy. The gel pad needs to be heated in the microwave or cooled in the refrigerator and placed in its own cover. You will then need to keep the temperature controlled to achieve the benefits of either complementary treatment.

The adjustable strap will provide stability and compression to the joint, so the pain will also be reduced by the pressure therapy. It can be used during physical training or after a long day's work, as the feeling of fatigue and cramps disappear immediately. It can be used by anyone because its size adapts well to the anatomy of the leg, but consider that the fabric can cause irritations.

Video: How to use hot and cold gel packs?

Types of hot & cold packs you should know about

What are the most common injuries in runners and athletes?

Inappropriate running and athletics can be harmful. Therefore, it is important that you follow your coach's recommendations. Otherwise, you may suffer one of the following common injuries in runners and athletes:

Plantar fasciitis

The plantar fascia is a thick, arch-shaped tissue on the bottom of the foot. It connects the heel bone to the toes and cushions the impact of the foot on the ground. Inflammation of this tissue is called plantar fasciitis. This injury causes burning pain in the sole of the foot near the heel. The pain is usually worse with the first steps after standing up, but can also be triggered by standing for a long time or getting up from a sitting position.

This injury occurs when the plantar fascia is overloaded or overstretched. It often occurs in long-distance runners, as running for long distances, over rough terrain or downhill is considered one of the possible causes. Other risk factors for developing this injury include arch problems, obesity, inappropriate footwear and being between 40 and 60 years old.

Tendonitis

Tendonitis is inflammation or irritation of a tendon that causes tenderness and pain in the joint. Tendons are the fibrous strands that connect muscles to bones. The condition is caused by the constant repetition of a movement, which over time puts strain on the tendons.

In runners and athletes, the most common tendonitis is the following:

  • Patellar tendonitis: Patellar tendonitis occurs in the patellar tendon. The patellar tendon is located in the knee and connects the kneecap to the shin bone. This injury causes pain in the knee. At first, the pain only occurs during physical activity, but when it gets worse, it can interfere with sports and daily life.
  • Achilles tendinitis: occurs in the Achilles tendon, the tendon that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. It causes pain at the back of the leg or just above the ankle. It often occurs in runners who suddenly intensify their training.

Iliotibial band syndrome

The iliotibial band is a thick fascial band that extends along the outside of the leg from the pelvic bone to the shin bone. Fascia is a type of connective tissue that surrounds certain structures and allows them to slide over each other.

Iliotibial band syndrome is an injury that causes pain and tenderness on the outside or side of the knee. It is very common in runners and is also known as "runner's knee". It also affects cyclists and athletes in other disciplines. The cause of this knee pain is still controversial. Some say it is inflammation of the iliotibial band, the bursa or both. However, it can be argued that overuse by runners can trigger this injury.

Sprains

A sprain is an injury where there is a stretching or tearing of ligaments. Ligaments are bands of fibrous tissue that connect two bones together and form a joint. This trauma causes pain, swelling, bruising and joint stiffness in the affected area.

These injuries occur when a bone is displaced from its natural position in the joint by a fall, blow or twisting. The ankle is most commonly sprained when it is abused on an uneven surface. But these injuries are also common to the knee, wrist and thumb.

Stress fractures

A stress fracture is a small crack in a bone. They are caused by recurrent microtrauma, such as repeated impacts during running training. But they can also be caused by weakening of the bones due to bone disease or poor nutrition.

They usually occur in the lower legs and feet. They can also occur in the arms, spine or ribs. In both cases, there is pain, increased tenderness, swelling and redness. The most common stress fractures in runners and athletes affect the tibia and metatarsals. These injuries also frequently occur in the heel bone and the ankle bone.

Muscle injuries

Most muscle injuries are caused by overexertion, trauma or forced movements. Athletes and runners are not exempt from these injuries.

  • Contracture: This is when a muscle contracts continuously and involuntarily. It can be so painful that it prevents any sporting activity.
  • Stretch: Stretching a muscle beyond its physiological limits. This is the stage that precedes fibrillar rupture and usually causes severe pain.
  • Muscle tear: This is the partial or complete rupture of muscle fibres. Depending on the severity of the injury, it can be divided into three different degrees. It can be a tear of a few fibres or a tear of a large part of the muscle, which requires surgery.

Bursitis

Bursitis is a painful injury that consists of inflammation of the bursa. The bursa is a synovial sac that contains fluid and serves to cushion the bones, tendons and muscles around the joints. It is usually caused by overuse or repetitive movements in the affected area.

It can also be caused by diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, infections or trauma. This injury most commonly occurs on the shoulder, elbow and hip. However, it can also occur at the heel, knee and base of the big toe.

Lower back pain

Lower back pain (lumbago) is an injury to the lower back. It is caused by musculoskeletal problems in the spine. Lower back pain in particular is usually caused by mechanical problems. In many cases, the cause is natural degeneration of the spine. In other cases, it may be sprains, muscle strains, herniated or ruptured discs, radioculopathies, spinal stenosis or skeletal irregularities.

When is it best to apply cold or heat?

Depending on the type of sports injury, it is advisable to apply cold, heat or both. If you are not sure when to treat the injury with low or high temperatures, don't worry. Here are some tips on how to do it:

Cold

Cryotherapy is the application of cold for therapeutic purposes. Many of the above injuries can be treated with this technique. The application of cold has great benefits as it relieves pain and inflammation. It also causes vasoconstriction, which is ideal for reducing bleeding.

Sports injuries that can be treated with cold include:

  • Plantar fasciitis: Cryotherapy is recommended for the first 48 hours after this injury is detected. Simply place the bag on the affected sole of the foot for 15 minutes three to four times a day.
  • Shin splints: In this case, it is recommended to apply cryotherapy for 15 to 20 minutes 4 to 8 times a day. However, the application of cold is more effective in the acute phase, which can last several days.
  • Tendonitis: In this case, cold rather than heat should be applied for the first 3 days after the injury. This is done by applying the cold compress to the affected area for 15-20 minutes every 4-6 hours.
  • Iliotibial band syndrome: In the acute phase of this injury, it is important to apply cold to the lateral area of the knee. This can be done 3 to 4 times a day for 10 minutes. When these symptoms are significantly relieved, the acute phase is over.
  • Sprains: As these injuries cause bruising, swelling and severe pain, they can be treated excellently with cold. Simply place the pack on the injured ankle or joint for 15 to 20 minutes every two to three hours.
  • Bursitis: This injury should be treated with cryotherapy as it is an inflammation of the bursa. The cold should be applied to the affected joint for 20 minutes several times a day.
  • Stress fracture: The application of low temperatures is generally recommended for the treatment of fractures. In this case, it is sufficient to apply the cold gel pack to the affected area three times a day for about 15 minutes.
  • Muscle injuries: Contractures, tears, strains and other muscle injuries should be treated with cryotherapy in the acute phase (usually the first 48 hours). In this case, it is sufficient to apply cold for about 20 minutes every hour or so.
  • Lower back pain: Cold can work well as a painkiller for this condition. Simply place a cold gel compress on the lower back for 20 minutes, about three times a day.

Heat

Heat therapy is a technique of applying high temperatures for therapeutic purposes. Heat has an analgesic and relaxing effect, relieves joint tension and promotes blood circulation.

However, it is important to note that the continuous application of heat can increase swelling. Therefore, it is not recommended for certain injuries where inflammation is present during the critical or acute phase of the injury (such as the first 48 hours).

However, heat therapy is recommended for the following sports injuries:

  • Plantar fasciitis: After the first 48 hours of severe pain and inflammation, it is recommended to treat this injury with heat. You can do this for 15 to 20 minutes, three to four times a day.
  • Tendonitis: For the first three days, it is best to treat these injuries with cold. However, from the fourth day onwards, heat can be applied to the affected area to relieve pain and speed up healing. Simply place the hot pack on the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes 3 to 4 times a day.
  • Iliotibial band syndrome: After relieving pain and swelling with cold, heat can be applied. In this case, you should apply the compress to the affected muscle (tensor fascia lata) about four times a day for 15 to 10 minutes.
  • Sprains: Heat can be applied to these injuries, but only 72 hours after the injury. However, some recommend heat therapy after a week of cryotherapy application. In any case, you should apply the hot pack for up to 20 minutes, 3 or 4 times a day.
  • Bursitis: The application of dry or moist heat to this injury can be very helpful. However, this can only be done after the first 48 hours. In this case, you can apply the compress three times a day for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Muscle injuries: After the first 48 hours of these injuries, it is usually possible to apply heat. Simply place the hot compress on the affected area for 15-20 minutes every hour.
  • Lower back pain: This condition can be treated with heat therapy. Simply place the hot pack on the affected area 3 times a day for about 20 minutes.

How can hot & cold gel packs be used to relieve the symptoms of injuries in runners?

Hot/cold gel packs, like the ones we can offer, are packs that can be cooled and heated. They are great for cryotherapy or thermotherapy of sports injuries in runners and athletes. As you can see, these packs are two in one.

Here's how to use hot/cold gel packs to relieve the pain of sports injuries in runners and athletes:

Use cold

To use cold gel packs to treat a sports injury, simply follow the steps below:

  • Leave the pack to cool in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.
  • Take the pack out to check that it is at the ideal temperature. If you want to cool it further, put it back in the fridge, but if it is too cold, leave it for a few more minutes.
  • Place the compress on the affected area for about 20 minutes.
  • Repeat this procedure 3 to 4 times a day, one hour apart.
  • Keep an eye on the wound while applying the cold to avoid damage.

Use heat

To use heat gel packs, simply follow these instructions carefully:

  • It is important that the pack is at room temperature before heating.
  • You can heat the pack in an 800 W microwave for about 30 seconds. However, if you have a microwave with a different power level, you will need to determine the correct time yourself.
  • Take out the sachet and massage it so that the heat is evenly distributed.
  • Check that the pack has reached the right temperature. If you need to heat it further, you can microwave it again in 10-second increments until you get the desired result.
  • To heat the hot/cold gel on the cooker, simply put 3.5 litres of water in a saucepan and bring it to the boil.
  • When it boils, turn off the cooker and immerse the bag in the water for 7 to 8 minutes.
  • Check the temperature. You can continue to heat by putting the pack back into the pot at one minute intervals.
  • Place the pack on the site of the sports injury for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • It is recommended to do this 3-4 times a day.

The best hot and cold gel packs for pain relief

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