The DonJoy Iceman is an Igloo cooler outfitted with a motor and pump. You fill it with ice, then water, and it circulates ice cold water around any aching joint or body part you need — knee, ankle, elbow, whatever. At the end of the tubing, you attach a flat surface wrap that’s shaped vaguely like a cloverleaf, which constitutes the heat exchange surface between you and the ice water. Wrap that flat part around your knee, say, hold it in place with ace bandage, and turn on the pump. Instantly, as the water fans out into the wrap, your entire knee is completely and uniformly surrounded by ice water.
I’ve had a lot of knee trouble, and the problem with traditional ice bags is that there always winds up being one square centimeter of skin that’s really in contact with the ice, and that square centimeter hurts like hell while the rest of the area gets only mildly cool. So, you keep shifting the ice bag, but because of its awkward (and frozen) shape, it just doesn’t work. The Iceman is not very portable once it’s full or water (it weighs a ton), but it’s much more comfortable to use and works vastly better in terms of power-cooling an inflamed joint. There’s also the less expensive PolarCare Cub model, but the pump is hand operated. Other cheaper icing units have no pump of any kind, so the water is propelled by gravity. In that case if you want to refresh the water, you have to lower the water supply below your joint so the water runs out and then put it back above you to circulate fresh cold water. I use the IceMan an average of a couple times a week and prefer to do my icing when I’m websurfing. The Iceman’s electric pump means I don’t have to hold or do anything. Just don’t fall asleep with this thing on — I imagine you could wake up with frostbite.