Heat or cold

Posted , 9 users are following.

Hi all

I’ve heard that heat is as good as Ice for our knee ops. What’s your thoughts on this and what difference does it make if you choose Heat over ice?

Many thanks

1 like, 13 replies

13 Replies

  • Posted

    Initially, ice helps reduce swelling. It's good right after exercising also. After my incision healed, heat before exercising helped my muscles to relax. My PT put ice on top of my kneecap and heat behind my knee which helped my muscles to stay relaxed so I could do the exercises at PT.

    When I could bathe, Epsom salt soaks with water as warm as I could soak in allowed me to stretch more in the water. Leg warmers worn 24/7 helped to keep the muscles supple so I could do heel slides and extension exercises. 

    You will find what helps your knee feel best. Good luck!

  • Posted

    Never heard of using heat for your TKR.   I was told to use ice.  About 6 weeks after my TKR I was having lower leg pain and was told I could use heat on the lower leg but to still use ice on my knee.  
  • Posted

    Thanks Laurel 

    That makes sense. I’ll give it a go 😊

    • Posted

      For the first 6 weeks, I kept a cold pack by my bed and if I had twinges of pain, the ice pack on top of my knee would let me sleep. After a few months, I slept on a far infrared mat on low heat setting and it helped me to sleep and keep my legs warm so muscles were not as stiff when I got up.
  • Posted

    Hi Wendy, I can only speak for myself of course, but I hated the ice from the very beginning. It's supposed to bring down the swelling, but for me, it just made my shin bone ache ! I thought at first I was imagining it, but each time I reapplied the ice the ache would come back, so I gave up on it. When I got back  home I purchased an electric blanket & kept it on the lowest setting all night, I've slept well every night since, which according to a lot of people is a major concern. Coincidence ? maybe,but who cares ? I take warmth over cold every time. Maybe the swelling might have reduced faster if I'd used the ice, but I'm 9weeks post op and it looks to be back to normal size now so that's all that matters in the long run. Look after yourself. J

    • Posted

      Oh really? I’ve just taken mine off the bed 😂😂 I’ll definitely give hear a go. I’ve got nothing to lose

      Good luck with your recovery 😊

  • Posted

    Greetings wendie,  about 10 days In and I’ve been using one of those sports ice pack filled with gel that’s very manipulative to mould round my knee, putting it on about every 3or so hours, swelling was bad but now with perseverance it coming down nicely, it’s also very soothing, not used any heat but can’t see what harm it could do.
    • Posted

      HI Stephen 

      Hope your doing ok 😊 ok thanks for the info. 

      Good luck with the rest of your journey 

  • Posted

    My PT used ice for the first few weeks until the swelling went down. Now before I start my exercises Ithey or I use heat and when done Ice. I was told to alternate. Again ice is the best for swelling. 
  • Posted


    I did both, in hot baths as soon as I could after the operation, not submerging my knee fully to after staples were taken out. (not so easy getting in and out at the beginning. Then icing with the Aircast Knee wrap and ice bucket the rest of the time. For me it was the best pain relief. HOT and COLD.

    Good healing

  • Posted

    I iced regularly for a few weeks. However, my PT always began with heat, followed by exercise, and concluded with ice. Hope this info helps. Hang in there!!! Everyday gets better!
  • Posted

    First 3 weeks I used ice only. After reading g on this forum that some used heat I started using both. Ice for swelling every 90 minutes and heat in between for the comfort factor. Sometimes heating pad on shins for pain distraction. Now at 8 weeks just heat. Since stopping pt I have little swelling. Hope you find what works for you.

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