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COLD THERAPY AFTER SURGERY

It is important to use ice/cold therapy as often as possible after surgery in order to decrease swelling and pain. Recommended dosage is approximately 20 minutes per waking hour. Place a layer between the ice and your skin, e.g.- paper towel, clothing, pillow case, etc. to prevent frostbite. Remove the ice when numbness occurs.


The 4 stages of cold are:

  1. Cold

  2. Burning/Pricking

  3. Aching (may hurt more than your pain)

  4. Numbness


Ice helps to:

  • Slow down nerve conduction which slows pain signals from the area of pain to the brain, which decreases your sensation of pain

  • Decrease swelling in the surgical area which decreases the pressure on the nerve endings which also in turn decreases your pain, and increases your range of motion


Ice can be placed directly over the area of swelling, but if a large bandage is present, then place it as close to the bandage as possible, or the joint above, e.g. if your foot is swollen, place the ice at your ankle.


Be careful using ice machines that also combine compression, such as Game Ready, Polar Care Wave, etc, as your surgeon may not want extra pressure in the surgical area. Some of these units have a control where you can turn the compression function off. Please check with your surgeon's office regarding the use of ice machines with compression in the initial recovery phase.


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