Thursday, June 11, 2009

Icy knees [TUTORIAL]

Every Saturday I come home from my long runs and, after stretching and finding water and stripping myself of all nonessential items (get off of me, Camelbak!), I grab my two zippie bags from the freezer, fill them with ice and situate myself in the backyard so that I can ice my knees.

During which time there is precious little moving around because the bags won't stay on my knees regardless of how I tourniquet them all Civil War style or wrap and fold them or what have you.

And you know that the second I sit down, I see something that must be done NOW or the phone rings or the clouds part and I find myself sitting in the scorchiest hot place without shade. So I try to keep the ice packs on while I fill the birdfeeder or talk to my mom on the phone, but the ice packs always end up on the ground or dangling below my knees all saggy and ineffective.


Until now. No, now I have finally gotten off my dead ass and made this thing that I've been thinking about making for, like, three years now and it took me all of 15 minutes with an old towel and some thread.

Sheesh. What is my deal?

Anyway, if you're a runner who needs any mobility whatsoever while you ice your knees or you just like to ice things (or warm them - this could work, too), but don't want to be wrapping yourself in Saran or tape or something super uncivilized like that, perhaps you, too, would be willing to part with a couple of your old kitchen towels in the name of, say, mobile healing?

I bet you would.

Ice Pack Wrap

Dishtowel (tea, terry - you decide)
12" Sew-on velcro cut into 2, 6" pieces (the stick-on kind does NOT work)
Quart size zippie bag

To make
Lay your towel horizontally and wrong side up and fold the top 2/3 of the towel down toward the bottom.

Fold the bottom 1/3 of the towel up, over the top, overlapping.

Sew the short ends together. Trim off excess and corners. Be careful not to cut into your stitching though because you'll be mad when you turn it right side out and find holes.

Turn right side out. (See - no holes! Happiness ensues.)

Using your zippie bag as a guide, center it on your towel (opening side up) and mark the width of the pocket you're about to sew with long pins.

Sew these lines vertically and trim off excess thread.

With pocket opening facing up, pin the soft side of your two velcro pieces to the right of your pocket. Align the first piece with the top of your towel and the second piece with the bottom.

Sew the velcro to the towel using a straight stitch.

With your towel facing pocket side up, fold in the left side of the towel toward the center and pin the other side of the velcro strips to the outside of the towel, lining them up with the velcro strips on the pocket side.

So that they'll stick together when you wrap them, dontchaknow.

Sew some nice crossed boxes on the velcro sections to keep it all in place.

These boxes will keep the wrap from getting all biggigity. That's a big problem with wraps, you know.

Admire the flapped pocket you've created.

These pockets never get old to me.

Fill your zippie bag with ice and slide it in there.

Granted, you don't HAVE to use a zippie bag. You could just throw some ice in there, but then what would you do with your old loyal zippie bag that's been icing your knees for three years?

It's too sad to relegate the bags to holding leftovers or dog food, after all they've been through with you, so you can still use them if you want.

This pocket also holds one of those standard ice packs with the polar bear on them, in case you're curious.

Farewell, old friend.

Plus, doesn't it look so snug in there? All ready to NOT move around on you when you need to fill the birdfeeder but still need to be icing your knees? Yes. Yes, it does.

Hello, Ice Pack. Aren't you cozy.

Well, quit staring at it then and ice your knees already. Or, get started on the second one now because, you know, you have two knees and all.

To use
Simply wrap around your knee (or ankle, this also works for your ankles or any other appendage and possibly your lower back if you're wicked skinny. Which I am not. But if you're one of those people that can wear a bandana as a belt, you can try this. I'll hate you, but you can try this.)

Disregard my leg scars. There were some pointy things that my legs encountered during our backpacking trip. The memories of which will be with me for some time. On my legs.

And go fill the bird feeder. Or throw the ball for the dog. Or go find out what that horrible noise is that's coming from the garage.

And it's OK because your ice packs will stay in one place! WOO!

Let the healing begin.

Oh, almost forgot, if you want to use this as a warming wrap, you can just warm up a damp washcloth and jam it in there. But that's for later - AFTER you've iced. Remember - ice THEN heat.

Good times.


  1. That's a good idea. I like that you don't have to hold it in place. I made some covers for my bendable ice pack last year, but I have to hold them in place.

  2. Very cool Finny. But, is this normal? Do you always have to ice your knees? (Sorry, i'm sure that's probably a stupic question!)

  3. This is awesome...I have an ice pack that I use that is made of water and rubbing alcohol...have you ever tried that? is beautiful never totally freezes in a double ziploc, it is like an ice pack slushie. A physical therapist told me about it way back. I think it has been in my freezer for almost 3 years, used and put back many times.....
    I will definitely be making this ice pack wrap.. great idea!

  4. well done with the sandal tan, finny! ;) I'm hoping to complete mine in the next few weeks as well hehe

  5. You are seriously too smart and crafty!

  6. Thank you for sharing this clever tutorial. I have a lot of problems with my knees and your solution is great.


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