The Effect of Cold Therapy on Pain, Swelling and Range of Motion After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstructive Surgery

Arthroscopy, October 1994; Volume 10, Issue 5, pp. 530-533;; Dale M. Daniel, M.D.;  Mary Lou Stone, R.P.T.;  Diana L. Arendt, R.N., M.S.N.

Abstract Content:  This prospective study assessed the effect of cold therapy on pain, pain medication use, limb swelling, and knee range of motion in 131 patients who had an arthroscopically assisted anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. Patients were randomized into five treatment groups. Cooling pads were incorporated into the dressing in 89 patients, and no cooling pads were used in 42 patients. There were four cooling-pad temperature groups: 40°F, 45°F, 55°F, and 70°F. The cooling pads lowered the skin temperature. There was no difference between groups with respect to hospital stay, pain medication use, pain scale, knee girth, or range of motion.