Combining a premium-grade neoprene cover and four non-toxic gel packs, Vive’s elbow pack is the best elbow ice pack for alleviating inflammation and pain. There are plenty of features that make this pack a cut above the rest. Keep reading to find out more.
Elbow pain is more common than you might think, and not just among athletes and factory workers. Your elbows have a multitude of ligaments and muscles that help you move your elbows, forearms, and even wrists—many working overtime. Luckily, ice packs can help to reduce the inflammation and pain of many elbow conditions and injuries. With this in mind, check out our list of the best elbow ice packs.
Our Top Picks
The 8 Best Elbow Ice Packs
Best Choice: Elbow Pack by Vive
Specifically designed for elbow therapy, this latex-free pack delivers moderate compression to alleviate pesky aches and pains. The four non-toxic gel packs can be either heated or frozen, depending on the type of elbow condition or injury. Simply wrap it around the affected area and secure it with the built-in fastener straps.
- Flexible wrap
- Provides compression
- Hot and cold therapy
- 4 non-toxic gel packs
- Secured with fastener straps
- Made from durable neoprene
- Can only be used on the elbows
- May restrict movement
Top Performance: Ice Wrap with Compression by übertherm
Made from premium-grade UBL neoprene, this elbow pack comes with a layered conduction pocket for safe and sting-free relief. The high-grade Velcro strap provides a secure fit for a customized level of compression. The accompanying non-toxic gel pack features multiple chambers to stay semi-flexible when frozen.
- Patented conduction pocket
- Made from premium-grade neoprene
- Gel pack with multiple chambers
- Stays flexible during use
- Easy to use
- Up to an hour of use
- Highly durable
- Thick padding affects the cooling effect
- Only delivers cold therapy
Can’t Count Out: Ice Pack for Injuries by Arctic Flex
This generously-sized multi-purpose ice pack delivers targeted relief to alleviate pesky aches and pains. Simply freeze or microwave the gel pack before placing it in the soft cover. When ready, wrap the pack around the affected area and secure it with the three built-in fastener straps. This product comes with a 60-day unconditional guarantee for complete peace of mind.
- Targeted relief
- Made from latex-free vinyl
- Hot and cold therapy
- Durable and reusable
- Secured with fastener straps
- 60-day unconditional guarantee
- Machine-washable cover
- Not as flexible as some other ice packs
- Can take a while to freeze due to its size
The Other Elbow Ice Packs We Reviewed
Therapy Compression Pack by Arctic Flex
This generously-sized pack can be used for both hot and cold therapy—simply pop the non-toxic silica gel pack in the freezer or the microwave. Ultra versatile, the pack can be placed on various body parts, including the back, shoulders, knees, and ankles. Plus, it comes with an adjustable Velcro strap to keep it secure during use. While this product does come with straps, it’s not specifically cut and designed to wrap the elbow with the same coverage as the others.Buy on Amazon
Reusable Hot/Cold Neoprene Compression Wrap by ACE
This multi-purpose hot or cold wrap can be applied to various body parts to alleviate the discomfort associated with swelling, sprains, strains, bruises, and minor burns. Made from a neoprene blend, the wrap is fully adjustable for a customized fit and level of compression. On the downside, this wrap does not come with a Velcro strap to prevent the gel pack from slipping out during use.Buy on Amazon
Hot & Cold Therapy Ice Pack for Injuries by TheraICE Rx
Available in four sizes, this ice pack is both elastic and form-fitting to conform to various body parts, from elbows to thighs. It provides 360-degree coverage for maximum support and gentle hot or cold therapy as you go about your activities. Unfortunately, this gel pack does not stay cold for very long.Buy on Amazon
Elbow Ice Wrap by AW ACTIVEWRAP
Non-toxic and latex-free, this soft neoprene elbow wrap features removable dual-layer pouches to protect your skin while you wear it. The two leak-proof gel packs remain flexible, even when frozen. This product comes with a nylon carry bag. Some users have complained that this elbow wrap is too bulky.Buy on Amazon
Elbow Ice Pack Soft Brace by Cold One
What makes this US-made elbow pack unique are the segmented ice blankets that have been sewn into the brace to deliver 360-degree icing. The in-built Velcro straps can be adjusted for a desired fit and compression. Unfortunately, this ice pack does not get very cold, and it doesn’t stay cold for long.Buy on Amazon
Causes of Elbow Pain
Since we use our elbows thousands of times per day to complete essential actions such as lifting or throwing, they are vulnerable to sprains, strains, or simple wear and tear. Here are just a few causes of elbow pain.
Wear and tear injuries are caused by repetitive movements, and are common among individuals who work on factories, offices, and many other environments. An elbow ice pack or brace can help support the joint during these times, to help prevent injury.
Elbow pain can be caused by a medical condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis happens when your immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s healthy tissue, causing swelling in the joints. Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, is caused by the wear and tear of elbow cartilage. Elbow pain can also be caused by referred pain from a spine injury or nerve entrapment caused by damage to the radial nerve in the arm.
From simple sprains and strains to fractures, elbow injuries are a part of life. Strains are caused by stretched or torn muscles, while sprains are due to torn ligaments. These are very common, particularly among athletes. Dislocations happen when one of the elbow bones is pushed out of place. This can be caused by putting the hand out to break a fall. Fractured elbows are usually caused by sudden blows.
Should You Use Ice or Heat for Elbow Pain?
While both heat and cold therapy can help to alleviate elbow discomfort, knowing when to use them can be tricky. Here is a quick guide to get you started.
Cryotherapy can alleviate inflammation by slowing down blood circulation in the affected area. It can also numb the elbow to reduce the discomfort associated with injuries. Cold therapy is most effective during the first 48 hours following an injury—apply an ice pack for around 20 minutes every four to six hours. In addition, cryotherapy can alleviate the discomfort of conditions such as gout and tendinitis, or irritation of the tendons.
Heat pads are used to increase blood circulation, which can soothe sore muscles and reduce the buildup of lactic acid after exercise. Thermotherapy can also help to alleviate the discomfort of sore joints caused by arthritis, and strains and sprains. For best results, apply heat to the affected area for around 20 minutes three times a day. Never apply heat to fresh injuries, infections, or burns.
Alternating Cold and Heat
Contrast therapy is often used for reducing the discomfort of osteoarthritis and exercise-induced injuries. For best results, apply a cold pack to the affected area for one minute before switching to a hot pack for three to four minutes. Repeat this process three times. Always start and end the treatment with an ice pack to reduce inflammation.
Weighing All the Factors
After a side-by-side comparison, we believe that Vive’s elbow pack is your best option when it comes to alleviating discomfort. Specifically designed with the elbows in mind, this flexible ice pack combines machine-washable cover, heavy-duty straps, and four gel packs. Following in a close second are übertherm’s ice wrap with compression and Arctic Flex’s ice pack for injuries, each offering a host of unique features.