I am only twenty nine but have suffered with mild to moderate joint pain for about ten years now. It started in my fingers but has since spread to my shoulders and my left knee. The many doctors I have been to have never officially diagnosed me with anything, and despite blood tests, xrays and examinations I still don't really know why I get this pain.
I am always on the look out for products to help me cope with the pain and was quite excited when I found this pack of Cura-Heat knee pads, here is how I got on with them.........
The box includes a soft stretchy bandage and four heat pads. The idea is that you put the bandage over your knee, pop the pads in the pockets on the bandage and away you go to get on with your life. In reality it is another story all together.
The bandage is like those tube grip ones, so you need to pull it on like a sock with no foot. This was easy enough for me to do although people with limited mobility may struggle. It fit rather snuggley and wasn't particularly comfortable, another problem for me was the length of it, I am not sure if I have extraordinary long knees but the bandage only just covered the knee area.
The next step is to put the heated pads into the pockets, you need to take the pad out of it's little wrapper and the air automatically activates it, to reach full heat it takes about 25 minutes. Now I found putting the pads in the pockets quite fiddly and difficult and my fingers were not even bad at the time, I can imagine elderly people or people with arthritis in their hands would struggle at this point. It was now fifteen minutes after I first opened the pack and I only had one pad in it's place, so much for 'quick relief' !!! .
Ten minutes later I was all strapped up, both pads gently warming up nicely. Great, now I could get on with my day and forget about it - oh how wrong I was !!!!! As soon as I started to walk, the tube bandage started to roll down, it was all gathered at the back of my knee and totally uncomfortable. I readjusted the bandage which stayed put for about ten minutes before rolling down again. I decided to put skinny jeans on to try and hold it in place, this worked quite well and so I set off into town. So far so good, until I am half way round Sainsburys and I feel it start to roll, it was like when it happens to your tights, once they start there is no stopping them and before you know it they are around your knees. So there was nothing I could do, I had tight trousers on so couldn't put my hand up the leg to adjust it, I obviously couldn't put my hand down my trousers in the middle of Sainsburys, I just had to go with the flow. luckily the pads stopped the bandage rolling all the way down, it just was all bulging at the bottom of my knee.
I got home and sorted it out, put the kettle on and watched Neighbours, during this time I started to feel some benefit to the heat, it was a nice sensation and I think did give me some relief by distracting my mind from the pain.
The pads stay warm for eight hours, you shouldn't wear them in bed.
They are not suitable for open wounds or children.
I think they worked to some degree, when I was sitting still, but I am a busy mum and don't have time to sit with my leg up all day. The relief I got could have been achieved by a hot water bottle or heated wrap.
I think they are totally unsuitable for day to day life.
The hassle and uncomfortable feeling from these far outweigh any benifit they offer.
You can buy them from Boots for £4.99, this is for four pads (two applications). I really think you should save your money or buy a hot water bottle instead.
One of the more irritating things about getting older is that you tend to find yourself getting aches and pains on your joints more often.
Ever since I was 17 and broke my right arm on the elbow I have had pains to contend with here, and to add insult to injury, I got really bad tennis elbow there a couple of years ago.
Recently this pain has spread to my entire lower right arm and hand, and sadly this is the onset of arthritis.
Joint pain tends to flare up for me during winter and as the cold snap continues unabated, this has led to pains on other joints, with my left knee being the latest target area.
I had a long drive to Manchester a couple of weeks ago and was a bit concerned about the pain I was experiencing in my left knee - it really made walking a bit of a struggle but even when I was sitting down the pain wouldn't go away and as a result I was in desperate need of something to help with the pain so I headed to my local large branch of Boots to see what they had on offer.
Heat pads seem to be the de rigeur way of alleviating joint and back pain (although conversely I did see some cold packs too) and given the low temperatures outside, they seemed particularly appealing.
After scouring the shelves I noticed Cura-Heat sold continuous warming pads for the knee area and at £4.99 I snapped the box up.
~~What's In the Box~~
You get a pad holder, called a wrap, which looks similar in style to a tubi-grip bandage but is double layered with holes where you will place the heat pads. There are four heat pads inside the box too.
~~Using the Heat Pads~~
My first impressions were mixed. The wrap used to hold the heat pads is quite small. On the box it clearly states it fits a maximum limb girth of 44 cm (17 inches), and the picture on the box leads one to believe the wrap is quite long and will sit comfortably on the knee. However it is actually quite short - being only 13 cm (5 inches) in length and having had experience of tubi-grip bandages in the past I wasn't feeling confident that the wrap would be able to stay in place for long.
To start you have to place the wrap around your knee area. The wrap has the Cura Heat logo printed on it and you have to ensure this is facing to the front of your knee. You then open your heat pack from the clear plastic sachet and insert it into the wrap, ensuring the side with "A" printed on it is facing towards your skin. The heat is air activated and will take about 30 minutes to gradually warm up.
There is a long list of precautions and safety information on the packet which I am not going to list in detail however the most important ones are to not open the heat pack sachets with scissors - why this is the case I do not know but there is a little notch on the pack making it quite easy to tear open by hand.
You cannot use these pads whilst sleeping, on children, or over areas where you have redness on the skin or broken skin. You cannot place them directly next to the skin without the wrap and you cannot place them anywhere wet.
There are also some pretty obvious caveats including not putting them in the microwave or incinerating them and of course the fact these are for external use only and cannot be ingested. Quite why anyone would want to eat these is a mystery to me but the ability of humans to do stupid things never ceases to amaze me so I guess that explains the warning.
These pads can cause burns despite not heating up to particularly high temperatures so you do need to read the safety blurb carefully to ensure you do not add to the pain instead of trying to get rid of it.
My knees are quite large these days but are still within the 44 cm girth limit for the wrap and it slipped on quite easily. My initial fears regarding the length of the wrap were well founded however - this really needs to be double the length in my opinion to stay in place, and be more comfortable.
The wrap has ribbing around the top and I found this uncomfortable from the moment I put it on my knee, but my desire for some pain relief overrode this discomfort and I decided to persevere.
I opened up the heat pack and placed one in the wrap via one of the two holes. It was quite fiddly to put the pack in at first and being aware of the fact one of the other precautions given on the box is not to knead or bend the heat pack, I had to take things slowly to get it in the wrap.
Once in I sat down with my knee up and waited for it to take effect.
As promised, within 30 minutes I felt the heat kick in and was quite pleased with the sensation it gave my knee - the heat certainly alleviated the pain.
After a couple of hours however I had to go out - and this was when the limitations became painfully obvious.
I only had to walk a short distance for the wrap to start rolling up around my knee and it became hideously uncomfortable as a result. Due to the wrap being so short, this had been a fear of mine from when I took the thing out of the packet, but I had tried to be optimistic and hope it would stay put. Sadly my optimism was misplaced.
Also when the wrap moved, it meant the heat pad moved too - moving it away from the area it was supposed to be targetting with pain relief.
This is a really quite basic design fault in the wrap - I appreciate this is a product designed for all but at least if the wrap were longer it would be less likely to move about when you are walking and using your knee.
Even when you are indoors and relatively inactive it only takes a few steps going into another room and the wrap moves out of place.
The heat pad certainly does help alleviate the pain but it doesn't get rid altogether - in fact I wonder if the heat is almost a placebo at times rather than offering genuine pain relief as I certainly found the simple idea of heat targeting a particular part of my body to be very appealing as the mercury struggled to get above zero.
Another problem I have with this product is the price. For £4.99 you only get four heat pads, and Cura Heat suggest you will need two pads in the wrap to target the pain. I couldn't justify that and used only one, which I have to say was perfectly adequate for me, but of course someone in severe pain may well need two.
Cura Heat claim the heat pads retain heat for up to 8 hours, and I have to say I cannot really argue with this claim - I was impressed with how long they stayed warm but of course the problem is can you bear wearing the uncomfortable wrap around your knee for 8 hours (remember you can't wear it in bed) at a time? I certainly couldn't on a regular basis.
If you are have arthritic pain in your knee this will help a little to get rid of it, but it is seriously limited in how you can use it.
This isn't the sort of thing you can wear to help you get through the day really - it's only going to work if you are sitting down whilst wearing it unfortunately.
The wrap's design is such that it's probably only going to stay put on those with particularly thin legs, or a child - which is ironic given you cannot use this product on children.
The price is also very high for what you get I think - and there doesn't seem to be the option to just buy the pads individually, meaning you will be stuck with a new, but still as useless, wrap whenever you want to stock up.
The pain in my knee has gone now so I shan't be buying these again - and if it were to come back I think I'd rather just buy a longer tubi-grip bandage and do without the heat to support my knee - at least that should stay in place better.
All in all a good idea which is sadly limited in practice.
**This review has previously been published by me on Ciao under the same user name**
Cura-Heat Arthritis Pain for Knee is a self-heating system which stays in place over the knee area delivering deep comforting heat for up to 8 hours, to provide targeted temporary relief to arthritis pain / -No need for preparation, just open the sachet and insert the heat pack into the wrap pockets / -The comforting heat can help relieve the pain and aches associated with arthritis in the joint area by increasing blood circulation / -Non-medicinal, portable and discreet, Cura-Heat Arthritis Pain can be used anywhere and anytime / Ready to use / Each box contains 4 heat packs and 1 wrap.Maximum limb girth 44cm