How to Use Ice Tape

After an injury, you may wish to follow the R.I.C.E. method to help control inflammation. R.I.C.E. is an acronym for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.

It is sometimes advisable to apply ice to injured tissues, especially during the initial or acute phase of injury. The ice helps to decrease pain, lower tissue temperature, and decrease swelling around the injury site. Compressing the injured area with ice can also help control swelling. By controlling the inflammation with ice and compression early after injury, you can help maintain the appropriate range of motion and mobility around your injured body part.

There are many ways to apply ice to the body. You can use Store-bought ice bags and cold packs. You can also soak your injured body part in a cold whirlpool or tub. Making your own reusable ice bag is also an option. Compression can be provided with an ACE bandage, but be sure that the bandage is not wrapped too tight. You do not want to cut off circulation entirely.

Ice Tape is a product that can provide you with cold therapy and compression all at once. Applied after injury, it can help decrease the pain and swelling that may occur during the acute inflammatory phase of healing.

How Does it Work?

Ice Tape is a flexible bandage that is infused with a cooling gel. When Ice Tape is exposed to air and applied to an injured body part, the gel feels cold against the skin. This cooling effect can last five to six hours. When combined with a flexible bandage, it can provide ice and compression in a single, easy-to-apply wrap.

Although Ice Tape can be used right from the bag, it can also be stored in your refrigerator to increase the cooling effect of the product. Ice Tape should not be stored in the freezer; that would make it too hard to wrap around your injured body part.

Pros and Cons

  • Easy to use

  • No fasteners required

  • Easy to cut

  • Reusable

  • Portable

  • Chemical odor

  • May not be cold enough

  • Gooey surface


There are many benefits to using Ice Tape.

  • Easy to use: The product is easy to use. Simply open up the bag, take out the roll of Ice Tape, and start wrapping it around your injured body part.
  • No fasteners required: The wrap sticks to itself, so the Ice Tape stays in place without having to use any other fasteners.
  • Easy to cut: The standard roll is 48 inches long by 2 inches wide. Most injuries require much less than a full roll. Simply use scissors to cut the exact amount you need, and then store the rest in the resealable bag.
  • Reusable: After 15 to 20 minutes of Ice Tape application, the product can easily be removed, rolled up, stored in the bag, and used again. The roll can be used multiple times, and it only loses its cooling quality after several uses.
  • Portable: You do not need a cooler of ice or refrigerator to store Ice Tape. This makes it easily portable and perfect for a quick ice and compression application immediately after a sports injury. It may also be useful for decreasing the pain and inflammation of carpal tunnel syndrome, so a roll may be kept as the office to use during breaks at work.


While Ice Tape seems to be a pretty decent product, a few cons are worth mentioning.

  • Chemical odor: The gel infused on the flexible wrap is a bit smelly. It is not quite as powerful smelling as a pain relief cream like Ben-Gay or Bio-Freeze, but it has a chemical-type odor.
  • May not Be cold enough: Ice Tape, while good for immediate pain relief and inflammation control, does not seem to get cold enough when used right from the package at room temperature. However, when stored in the refrigerator, it does seem quite a bit colder and may provide more therapeutic cooling to those body parts suffering from tendinitis or bursitis.
  • Gooey surface: Another negative quality about Ice Tape is that it is a bit gooey. This gooey factor is a minor annoyance. It just feels a bit sticky when being applied to the body. A couple of flecks of the blue gel may also be left behind when the Ice Tape wrap is removed. Ice Tape may also stick to your clothing.

Other Brands to Try

If you cannot get Ice Tape, there are other similar brands to try:

  • KT Tape Ice and Heat Wrap
  • Icee Tape Cooling and Compression Self-Adhesive
  • Instant Ice Wrap

A Word From Verywell

If you are looking for a quick, on-the-go product to provide cooling therapy to injured or aching body parts, Ice Tape may be a good choice. It is a reasonable item to have on hand in your athletic bag to help provide cooling compression if you suffer a minor injury while participating in athletics.

It may also be helpful to provide a cooling relief to body parts suffering from overuse or repetitive strain injuries. Overall, it is a beneficial first aid product to provide initial ice and compression after injury.

4 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Michigan Medicine. University of Michigan. Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (RICE).

  2. Block JE. Cold and compression in the management of musculoskeletal injuries and orthopedic operative procedures: a narrative reviewOpen Access J Sports Med. 2010;1:105-113. doi:10.2147/oajsm.s11102

  3. Kraeutler MJ, Reynolds KA, Long C, McCarty EC. Compressive cryotherapy versus ice-a prospective, randomized study on postoperative pain in patients undergoing arthroscopic rotator cuff repair or subacromial decompressionJ Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2015;24(6):854-859. doi:10.1016/j.jse.2015.02.004

  4. Highland Sport & Medical Supplies. Ice Tape 5cm x 1.2m/1 Roll.

By Brett Sears, PT
Brett Sears, PT, MDT, is a physical therapist with over 15 years of experience in orthopedic and hospital-based therapy.