Ask H&H: cooling compression bandages

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    Q: What are the benefits of cold bandages for use after exercise?
    MT, Lincs

    Cooling compression bandages are used by human and equine athletes after exercise to help prevent muscle and tendon injuries, reduce tissue temperature and increase muscle recovery.

    The cooling bandage reduces discomfort and draws out heat, while the compression enhances the therapeutic effects of the bandage and reduces swelling.

    Cooling compression bandages are useful for horses whose muscles have been exerted through training or exercise, and are especially popular with event riders and driving competitors, in the cross-country and marathon stages respectively.

    According to Peter Phillips from Abbey Saddlery, distributors of the Blue Kool range of products from Pro-Equine, cooling compression bandages can be invaluable for horse owners, especially during the competition season.

    “These products are applied directly to the skin to maintain a cold, therapeutic temperature for a longer period of time than an ordinary ice pack would provide,” said Peter.

    “Elasticated cooling compression bandages are recommended by top athletic trainers, physicians, vets and therapists, as they provide both cold compression and support, ideal for use post-training or competition, for increased equine muscle recovery.”

    Who uses them?

    Top carriage driving competitor Georgina Frith is a fan of cooling bandages.

    “I use them after a hard day’s competition, to relieve any pain and swelling from sprains, bruises and aching joints. The bandages are very practical; they are effective when used straight from the first aid kit, without any previous refrigeration,” she said.

    “We use Blue Kool wraps, which are impregnated with a cooling gel and are easy to use — the product wraps completely around the leg area to cool the limb from all sides, and allows for freedom of movement due to its elasticity.”

    Where can I get them?

    Blue Kool wraps are non-toxic and non-irritant; the gel is 96% water, so the product is easily re-hydrated by running water over the bandage. The wraps can be refrigerated before use, or used straight from a tack or cool box.

    They come in various sizes priced from £9.99.


    Abbey Saddlery, tel: 01565 650343 www.abbeysaddlery.co.uk

    This Q&A was first published in Horse & Hound (26 March, ’09)

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