Just What I Kneeded

What happens after a life-altering knee injury?

How to fill a cryo cuff

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The last time, when I had the big knee surgery, I had a sweet little ice cuff that both compressed and iced for two hours and then shut off for thirty minutes. It was all automatic and didn’t even require ice/water. That thing was the mother of all ice machines. But then I had to give it back less than three weeks into recovery and still needed something to keep ice on my knee. Enter, the cryo cuff. Specifically, enter the hand-me-down PolarCare 500 from my brother-in-law–he’d gotten it after his ACL reconstruction.

The first night that I used the cryo cuff, my knee was so warm that the ice melted within a few hours. Not cool when you’re still icing about 20 hours a day. My mom was staying with me at the time and made a midnight run to the corner gas station to load up on ice. But she didn’t want to have to do that every night, so she came up with a pretty awesome method that helps the cuff work through the night (or in at least 8-hour increments during the day).

The trick is to use big blocks of ice, as opposed to simply putting in a bag of ice chips. I use Tupperware containers to form the big blocks, but be warned that doing so pretty much ruins the containers. Once the big blocks are in place, I fill in all the cracks with ice cubes and then fill it to the line with water. I keep the water in a gallon jug in the fridge to have it as cold as possible when putting it in the cooler for the cryo cuff. This method works like magic, and I only had to fill the cooler twice a day this time around, but it keeps cold for hours and hours. My mom is a smart lady.

Ice blocks in cryo cuff.

These are the bog blocks I use in the bottom of the cooler.

Cryo cuff filled with ice and water.

After the big blocks are in place, I use the cubes from my ice tray to fill in the cracks.

Update: In a cruel twist of fate, the motor on my cryo cuff went out last night, after I’d originally scheduled this post. I’m having separation anxiety.

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Author: Laura

I have a fern I named Frankenstein. I like leprechauns, practicing kung fu moves on my dining room furniture, and pretending that one day I will move to Fiji. I dislike my neighbors' kids, anything that is chartreuse, and Ben Roethlisberger.

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