Ice Tape

Package of Ice Tape
Ice Tape is used to provide cold therapy and compression without the need for refridgeration. Brett Sears, PT, 2013

After an injury, it is important to follow the R.I.C.E. method to help control inflammation. R.I.C.E. is an acronym for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.

It is important to apply ice to the injured tissues, especially during the initial, or acute, phase of injury. The ice helps to decrease pain, lower tissue temperature, and decrease swelling around the site of injury. Compressing the injured site with the ice can also help control swelling.

By controlling the inflammation with ice and compression early after injury, you can help maintain appropriate range of motion and mobility around your injured body part.

There are many ways to apply ice to the body. Store bought ice bags and cold packs can be used. You can also soak your injured body part in a cold whirlpool or tub. Making your own reusable ice bag is also an option. Compression can be provided with an ACE bandage, but be sure that the bandage is not wrapped on too tight. You do not want to completely cut off circulation.

Ice Tape is a product that can provide you with cold therapy and compression all at once. Applied after injury, it can help to decrease the pain and swelling that may occur during the acute inflammatory phase of healing.

How Does it Work?

Ice Tape is a flexible bandage that is infused with a cooling gel. When Ice Tape is exposed to air and applied to an injured body part, the gel feels cold against the skin.

This cooling effect can last up to 5-6 hours. When combined with the flexible bandage, it can provide ice and compression in a single, easy to apply wrap.

Although Ice Tape can be used right from the bag, it can also be stored in your refrigerator to increase the cooling effect of the product. Ice Tape should not be stored in the freezer; that would make it too hard to wrap around your injured body part.

The Pros

There are many benefits to using Ice Tape. First, the product is easy to use. Simply open up the bag, take out the roll of Ice Tape, and start wrapping it around your injured body part. The wrap sticks to itself, so the Ice Tape stays in place without having to use any other fasteners.

Ice Tape is also easy to cut. The standard roll is 48 inches long by 2 inches wide. Most injuries require much less than a full roll. Simply use scissors to cut the exact amount you need, and then store the rest in the resealable bag.

After 15-20 minutes of Ice Tape application, the product can easily be removed, rolled up, stored in the bag, and used again. The roll can be used multiple times, and it only loses its cooling quality after several uses.

Finally, a benefit of Ice Tape is that it is portable and you do not need a cooler of ice or refrigerator to store it. This makes it perfect for a quick ice and compression application immediately after a sports injury. It may also be useful for decreasing the pain and inflammation of carpal tunnel syndrome, so a roll may be kept as the office to use during breaks at work.

The Cons

While Ice Tape seems to be a pretty decent product, there are a few cons that are worth mentioning. First, the gel that is infused on the flexible wrap is a bit smelly. It is not quite as powerful smelling as Ben-Gay or Bio-Freeze, but it does have a chemical-type odor about it.

Ice Tape, while good for immediate pain relief and inflammation control, does not seem to get cold enough when used right from the package at room temperature. When stored in the refrigerator, it does, however, seem quite a bit colder and may provide more therapeutic cooling to those body parts suffering from tendinitis or bursitis.

Another negative quality about Ice Tape is that it is a bit gooey. This gooey factor is a minor annoyance. It just feels a bit sticky when being applied to the body. A couple flecks of the blue gel may also be left behind when the Ice Tape wrap is removed. Ice Tape may also stick to your clothing.

Bottom Line

If you are looking for a quick, on-the-go product to provide cooling therapy to injured or aching body parts, Ice Tape may be a good choice. It is a reasonable item to have on hand in your athletic bag to help provide cooling compression in case you suffer a minor injury while participating in athletics. It may also be useful to provide cooling relief to body parts suffering from overuse or repetitive strain injuries. Overall, it is a useful first aid product to provide initial ice and compression after injury.

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