The DonJoy Iceman is a cold therapy machine (sometimes called “cryotherapy” or “ice therapy”) that consists of an ice-chest that pumps freezing-cold water into a compression pad. Unfortunately, over several hours, it may desensitize nerves and patients may fail to realize that it is causing frostbite, skin necrosis, or nerve damage.

What is the DonJoy Iceman Cold Therapy Machine?

DJO Global manufactures DonJoy Iceman and markets it as the most effective way to treat pain and swelling after orthopedic injuries or surgery. They claim it can speed up the healing and recovery process by providing up to 8 hours of consistent ice-cold temperatures to injured body parts (usually the shoulder, knee, or ankle).

The DonJoy Iceman consists of a cooler that is filled with ice and water. A motorized pump forces this ice-cold water through a hose and into a compression pad, which is specially designed to be wrapped around an injured body part.

Types of DonJoy Iceman products include:

  • DonJoy Iceman Model 1100
  • DonJoy Iceman Continuous Cold Therapy Unit
  • DonJoy Iceman CLEAR Cold Therapy Unit
  • DonJoy Iceman Cryotherapy Unit
  • Aircast Cryo/Cuff IC (no pump)
  • Aircase Cryo/Cuff Cooler (no pump)

What is the problem with DonJoy Iceman Cold Therapy Machine?

The problem with the DonJoy Iceman cold therapy machine is that it can cause severe skin and nerve damage. Patients may not realize that frostbite and tissue damage can occur even above freezing temperatures. Despite the danger, the DonJoy Iceman does not have alarms or automatically turn off when the temperature is too cold or it is used for an unsafe amount of time.

Furthermore, the DonJoy Iceman is designed to reduce pain by desensitizing nerves, but this may increase the risk of injury. The compression pad is designed to reduce swelling by constricting an injured body part, which also reduces blood-flow to the injured area and slows nerve signals. Patients who are injured may have nerve damage or pre-existing pain, and they may fail to realize that they pain they are feeling is from the DonJoy Iceman. Or, they may feel no pain until after the DonJoy Iceman is removed.

DonJoy Iceman Injuries and Complications

  • Pain
  • Skin damage
  • Nerve damage
  • Tissue necrosis (cell death)
  • Frostbite
  • Infection
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Permanent numbness, tingling, desensitization, pain
  • Circulation problems in the skin
  • Additional surgery
  • Skin grafts or reconstructive surgery
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) Syndrome
  • Amputation
  • Disability


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