“ Brand: Boots / Type: Hot / Cold Compress „
Unfortunately, I seem to have inherited completely flat feet from my father's side of the family. This has caused major problems in my legs and of course, my feet and I suffer from a lot of aches and pains. I'm currently treating a terrible stress fracture on my right shin that has come from doing a lot of up/downhill walking without wearing the correct shoes, but I'm also waiting for my foot reconstruction appointment coming through, so hopefully this will be the last of the pain!
Shin splints and stress fractures are best treated with cold and should be iced for 20 minutes every hour after the pain starts, if possible. As with a lot of people, I work 5 days a week and therefore can't be icing my shins every hour, but when I'm at home resting, my shins are never free of the Boots Pharmaceuticals Hot/Cold Compress. The compress comes in a flimsy, blue cardboard box with a few bursts of colour on the front, as shown above. It claims to relieve aches and pains and reduce swelling, whilst being used for both hot and cold treatment. The back of the box states the uses for both temperatures and gives a few cautions. We are also told how to clean the compress and informed that it comes with a cover so as not to burn or freeze your skin. One side of the box has directions on how to use the compress for each temperature.
For a heat treatment, you simply immerse the compress in boiled water for 7 minutes and then put it back into the cover before applying to your body.
For a cold treatment, you freeze the compress for at least 2 hours before using in 20 minute bursts on the affected area.
I am yet to use this as a heat treatment, so I cannot comment on the effectiveness of that, but as a cold treatment I use it multiple times per day.
The compress itself is a rectangular, rubber-type pack that seems to be filled with a blue gel. The cover is a white gauze material that has a little extra flap so you can cover the end of the compress, although I find that it fits snugly into the cover and this isn't necessarily needed.
The first time I used it, I followed the instructions and then removed the compress from the freezer 2 hours later before applying it to my shin. This gave me absolutely no relief whatsoever and barely felt cold at all. I was incredibly disappointed but decided it may just be my freezer, so I popped it into our secondary freezer for another hour and it was good to go! Since then, I've only used the second freezer and it takes around 2.5 hours to freeze fully.
The compress is still relatively flexible when it's frozen so you can mould it to your body, but I like to use medical tape to keep it in place so that it doesn't shift about with any movement. I also like to remove the cover as it seems to be too much of a barrier between the cold and my skin. Luckily, the outside of the compress doesn't freeze so I don't end up with any freeze burns, just a nice relief from the pain for a while. It only takes around 3 minutes for my leg to start feeling relief and roughly 10 minutes for my leg to feel numb, by the end of the 20 minutes, I've totally lost feeling in that area of my leg - I'm not sure how healthy this is, but I'm not crying with pain anymore, so I'll take it!
I've been using this pack for the past week and haven't had any issues with skin irritation or anything. Unfortunately, the pack does thaw out relatively quickly and after my 20 minutes are up, it's almost completely thawed out again.
I find that I get the best relief when I ice my shin for 20 minutes, leave it for 40 and then ice for another 20 with a full hours break before I repeat again. During this time I've either had a couple of painkillers or a few large glasses of wine, it depends how quickly I want to numb my leg!
My only niggle with this product is that you only get one in the pack. As I mentioned before, shin issues are best treated being iced every hour, but as this product takes 2-3 hours to freeze fully and thaws out rather quickly, I've ended up having to buy an extra two (I could probably just have done with one, but it's nice to always have a spare when my other leg is acting up too!).
These come in at £6.99 a piece and are available from any Boots store with a pharmacy, along with the Boots website (www.boots.com). I personally think £4-5 would be a better price range, but as this is one of the only cold compresses that provides any kind of relief AND is available to pick up in a store near me, I'm willing to pay the £6.99 price. As I mentioned above, I do think the pack should contain 2 compresses so I can't say this product is perfect, but it's helped me greatly and I really do recommend picking one or two up if you have any issues with your shins.
I'm going to give this product 4 stars simply because I had to buy a second one to ensure I would constantly have one available for use.
Thanks for reading!