We are investigating injuries from cold or cryo therapy devices. Brand names under which these products are sold reportedly include Don Joy, Polar Care, and EB Ice.
“Cold therapy” devices, often used by patients following surgical procedures and joint injuries, have been linked to serious skin damage, nerve damage, and extreme, permanent pain in some users.
WHAT ARE COLD THERAPY DEVICES?
Cold therapy (sometimes referred to as “cryo therapy”) devices are used to minimize swelling resulting from surgery by cooling the inflamed or swollen area of the body. After filling the device (which resembles a cooler) with ice water, the cooling pad is placed on the affected body part. A circulating pump inside the cold therapy device continually circulates ice water to the cooling pad through connecting tubes. This helps keep the pad ice-cold for extended periods of time.
WHY ARE COLD THERAPY DEVICES CAUSING SKIN AND NERVE DAMAGE?
Doctors usually prescribe cold therapy devices to patients following surgery or serious injury, but the devices come with very little instruction (or none at all) about recommended temperatures or length of treatment and lack a shut-off or alarm mechanism that would prevent the device running too long or too cold.
Many people are told something along the lines of, “The colder the pad and the longer you can keep it on your skin, the better.” Because of existing nerve damage or desensitization from the surgery or injury, patients may not feel how cold the pad is on their skin. Nerve and skin damage then occurs. However, damage also can occur in people who use the product as recommended.
WHAT KINDS OF INJURIES ARE ASSOCIATED WITH COLD THERAPY DEVICES?
Cold therapy patients have suffered severe injuries to the ankles, feet, wrists, hands, shoulders, and knees as a result.
Injuries typically fall into two different categories:
- Nerve damage. Objective tests, such as the electroencephalogram (EEG) test, can be performed to confirm damage in absence of visible injury.
- Nerve and skin damage. Skin damage will have visible injuries, such as frostbite.
- Cold therapy nerve and skin damage injuries can result at above freezing temperatures. Some victims have reported damage after using cold therapy devices in the 45-55 degree range.
WE WANT TO HELP
Roberts & Roberts wants to help if you or a family member have suffered nerve or serious skin damage after using a cold or cryo therapy device.