The use of ice to manage post-operative and acute injuries has been well established in healthcare for many decades. The proposed mechanism of action is a reduction in tissue temperature which slows nerve conduction, reducing pain. It is also proposed that it causes vasoconstriction of blood vessels limiting swelling and bleeding. Cold therapy – or cryotherapy – has been criticised because it may only cause transient and shallow cooling of tissues, so deeper injuries may not actually receive any of these benefits.

Newer products have been introduced that combine cryotherapy and compression. They apply constantly-cycling ice water with a pressure cuff to maintain cooler temperatures at deeper levels in the tissues for longer periods of time. One such machine is the Game Ready, which we have been using at Healthzone Physiotherapy for more than a year. We have been using this machine on acute soft tissue injuries and post-operative joints, and have been able to see the benefits it provides our patients in terms of recovery and pain management.

As with any treatment we like to use, it has been supported in the literature through various clinical trials. Although we use this machine on many parts of the body including feet, ankles, calves, quads, hamstrings and shoulders, most of the research has assessed its efficacy on knees.

  • In a study looking at 280 patients after having a total knee joint replacement, the patients who regularly used Game Ready demonstrated a reduced need for pain-relieving medications, a trend towards greater walking distance achieved post-op and increased satisfaction.
  • In 36 patients post-ACL reconstruction, use of the Game Ready machine lead to improved pain levels and reduced reliance on narcotic medications.
  • In a study of 39 patients post-ACL reconstruction, Game Ready application of ice and compression lead to reduced consumption of pain relief and improved active knee range of motion.
  • In 30 patients who received a hip joint replacement, use of the Game Ready reduced post-operative blood loss and wound discharge, reduced hospital stay, and improved pain levels.

If you are suffering from an acute injury, particularly one accompanied with significant pain and swelling, or are looking for orthopaedic post-operative care, come and visit one of the team at Healthzone Physiotherapy where we can include the Game Ready machine in your management plan if it is appropriate for you.

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Rebecca graduated from AUT in 2008 with her Bachelor of Health Science in Physiotherapy and started working in a West Auckland private practice. She quickly gained an interest in sports physiotherapy including injury prevention and management. Rebecca worked for four years with premier and reserve club rugby teams including Waitemata and Kumeu / Helensville. She was the physio for the Western Pioneers team in 2012 when they won the North Harbour competition. Rebecca also practiced as a community physiotherapist administering the Otago Exercise Programme which focused on falls prevention for the independent elderly. Through these clients, she developed a curiosity in chronic pain conditions. While she has had plenty of experience in standard post surgical rehabilitation, she took a particular interest in Functional Reactivation Programmes, which work with people suffering persistent pain and complex recoveries post surgery or injury. Rebecca takes an interest in working with clients who have exhausted their channels within the health profession for the management of their pain and enjoys the challenge of helping these patients manage their conditions and return to activities of daily living. To aid in this work, she went on to get her Postgraduate Certificate in Rehabilitation from AUT. Rebecca’s passions include travel, yoga, food, comedy and film – don’t get her started on the topic of movies if you don’t have the time and energy to discuss them with her. She lives in central Auckland and is fiercely local – preferring to commute every day across the bridge than to live any distance away from friends and family!