What’s the Best Ice Machine for Injuries and Muscle Recovery?
Ice is a great way for athletes to reduce swelling or help muscles recover after a long day of training, but not all ice is created equal. There are many different types of ice that work for a range of physical therapy needs. In this article, we’ll show you the best physical therapy ice machine for injuries of all types. You may find out that the kind of ice you’re currently using may not be the best choice for the type of injury your treating.
Cubed Ice Machine for Injuries
Cubed ice machines (sometimes called cubers) produce a range of different ice shapes like crescent, dice, and square. The one thing all these shapes have in common is that they are hard and melt slowly since they are made to keep beverages cold for extended periods.
That doesn’t mean that cubers won’t make for a good ice machine for injuries. Ice baths are an excellent way for athletes to recuperate from a long day of hard training. Cubed ice is particularly useful in ice baths since they are solid and keep the temperature of the water colder for longer.
Ice baths require a lot of ice to fill, about a 3-to-1 water to ice ratio. That means you could use up to 20-30 pounds of ice per bath. Since cubers come in a wide range of ice production rates (anywhere between 50-3000 pounds of ice), they are a must-have if you want a cost-effective way to fill multiple ice baths.
On the other hand, cubed ice is not a great option for cold compresses. For one, the cubes come in hard, geometric shapes that don’t mold well around body parts like elbows and knees. Also, since the cubes have pointy edges, they can tear through plastic bags, causing water to leak out of the bag.
Flaked Ice Machine for Injuries
Flake ice is a popular shape of ice for swelling because unlike cubed ice it molds very well. Flake ice is designed to create mounds for seafood displays and salad bars, and as a result, works very well in cold compresses. The ice forms a pocket around difficult joints, providing even cooling around the area.
While great for compresses, flake ice isn’t the best choice for ice baths. Unlike cubed ice, flake ice is soft and melts quickly in water.
Air-cooled flake ice machines produce anywhere between 300-1500 pounds of ice. Larger units (1800-2200 pounds) tend to be either water-cooled or remote units.
Nugget Ice Machine for Injuries
Nugget ice (also called cubelet, pellet, or Sonic ice after the popular food chain) is a hybrid ice type that combines traits of both cubed and flake ice. This ice type is soft and chewable, but more structured than flake ice.
Nugget ice is a popular choice for hospitals and healthcare clinics because it can help hydrate patients who have a hard time swallowing liquid.
For physical and sports therapy, nugget ice is an excellent type of ice for swelling. Like flake ice, it’s moldable and provides even cooling around elbows, knees, and other joints. Since it’s soft and malleable, the cubes won’t rip through plastic bags and leak out on patients.
Although nugget ice isn’t the best choice for ice baths, it does melt slower than flake ice, keeping baths colder for more extended periods.
Nugget ice machines produce between 80-1300 pounds of ice a day, so they’ll fit just about any sized facility.
Plenty of Options for a Physical Therapy Ice Machine
Whether you run a large university training facility or a small physical therapy center, a commercial ice machine is a cost-effective way to provide plenty of ice for your patients. If you need help sizing the right ice machine for your facility or need an additional unit on the premises, contact us, and we’ll help find the right unit for you!