Hilotherapy ScienceMaxillofacialOrthopaedicPlastic SurgeryArthritis / RheumaSports Recovery

for Sports Recovery

Cryotherapy has long been an integral part of the popular RICE technique for sports recovery. Hilotherapy is the optimal form of Cryotherapy, allowing precise temperature control and consistent targeted delivery to the site of treatment.

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Effectiveness of manual lymph drainage and continuous cooling following knee TEP

T. Jöllenbeck, C. Schönle (DGOU, 2013)

Why Lymph Drainage or Cooling? Problem Area: Knee Swelling

  • Ability to bend the knee and mobility compromised
  • Wound healing process interrupted:
    • External wound dehiscence
    • Wound edge necrosis
    • Delayed internal soft tissue healing
  • Feeling of tightness and severe pain

Objective: Reduction in swelling of operated knee joint

Pilot study to compare effectiveness of two treatment methods, continuous cooling and lymph drainage.


  • 15 patients post knee TEP, randomized
  • Cooling group (Hilotherm) 25min at 13-15°C
  • Lymph drainage group (Manually) 25min, neck abdomen (lymph valves), then just op-leg
  • 3 weeks, 5x week (Mon-Fri), 11am, lying down
  • Identical treatment program


  • Reduction of the leg and knee volume on the operated side
  • No reduction in leg and knee volume on non-operated and non-treated side
  • Cooling on operated leg not more effective than lymph drainage
  • This means that 25min Hilotherapy has the same effect as 25min manual lymphatic drainage

Hilotherapy can therefore be used in place of traditional manual lymph drainage on a 1:1 ratio, saving the therapists valuable time.

Device supported cryotherapy with a water sleeve system - Hilotherm

P. Keysser, M. Reingen, T. Mrkackova, N. Walter (VSOU, 2012) - Observational Study


In older patients in particular, e.g. with polyneuropathy, conventional cryotherapy measures using ice bags, "Cryo-Cuff" or so-called cold packs are often problematic, since improper application may result in anything from cold damage to the formation of necrosis.

Another common problem emerges with application due to using leaking ice water bags or slippage of the cold packs, which increases the strain on nursing staff.


192 therapeutic applications were standardised and recorded via questionnaire.

The therapy was administered in a standardised form for 20 minutes at a temperature of 10-15°C.

Corresponding sleeves were used, depending on the area of application.

The therapy was applied with the following indications:

  • Knee prosthesis operations
  • Post-traumatic states
  • Shoulder operations
  • Applications for the hands and feet of rheumatic patients


In 164 cases, pain intensities were reportedly lower after the therapy than before it.

The average pain intensity on a visual analogue scale declined from 4.9 before the first therapy to 1.6 after the final therapy.

Throughout the entire observation period no complications or incompatibilities were observed.

No patient was forced to abandon the cold therapy due to intensified discomfort.

Quotes from the individual feedback from patients

  • “Very pleasant, I don’t need any more painkillers."
  • “Redness and excessive warmth on the left declining, pains also subsiding."
  • “Redness easing, but knee still overheated."
  • “The cold is very soothing in countering the ever-present swelling."
  • “I don’t need any more painkilling drip."
  • “With a motorized sleeve and the cooling device, the hematoma can be eliminated more rapidly."
  • "Pain relief around 20 minutes after the cold is applied."
  • “Although the cold sensation was unpleasant at first, it improved later."

Management Evalutation

  • Relieves the burden on nursing staff
  • No fridge needed to store ice bags/packs
  • No cold packs/ice bags
  • Can be used for WL patients (GOÄ 53)
  • "KTL-compatible"



  • Enhanced patient comfort
  • High application safety (= decreased cold damage!)
  • Individually adjustable temperature
  • Relieves burden on nursing staff
  • Available for outpatient and inpatient care


  • Costs (?)
  • Not prescribable

Research and Studies | Testimonials | Treatment Cuffs

Testimonials of Medical Professionals

“We are using Hilotherapy already for some time. We apply it pre- and post-operatively prevalent with ligament injuries, bruises, knee injuries etc. With Hilotherapy we see a considerable reduction of pain as well a considerable reduction of swelling and hematoma.

We can clearly reduce the down time of our players by applying Hilotherapy.”

Dr. Hanns Christian Harzmann
Team doctor of the U21 National Team
German Soccer Federation

“By using Hilotherapy on patients who have undergone surgery, we achieve an optimal result. The patients find the therapy very pleasant. Post-operative swelling, haemorrhages or the formation of haematomas are clearly reduced through use of this therapy.

Hilotherapy is an inherent part of our clinic and is indispensable when it comes to the optimal care of our patients.”

Dr Klaus Steinhauser
Orhopaedist and sports medicine specialist
Orthopaedic clinic for outpatient knee joint operations, Karlsruhe, Germany

"The following aspects make the system interesting for me: constant, gentle cooling with reduction of swelling and pain, especially after bone and soft tissue surgery to the head. Saving of analgesics and at the same time a reduction of the side effects associated with analgesics. High acceptance of the treatment by patients and nursing staff."

Dr. Martin Wazinski
Sports Medicine
St. Josefshospital Uerdingen, Krefeld, Germany


"I have been using Hilotherapy for the last three years and it has become an integral part of my Physiotherapy service at Northants Cricket. It is fantastic to have a piece of equipment what gives me the opportunity to optimise tissue homeostasis pre-operative, immediately post-surgery in the cast, sub-acute and a chronic phase of injury management during a long and physically demanding County Cricket season. This is made possible due to a unique blend of anatomically shaped thin cuffs for all parts of the body where a controlled cooling and warming effect between 10-38°C can be established. To have a clinical Hilotherapy unit in the Physiotherapy Department at the County Ground and a hand held unit for the away fixtures, pre-season tours or home visits offers me the opportunity to use Hiloterm everywhere and any time. It is great to see Hilotherm’s ongoing commitment to collect clinical data for research to develop faster and better ways of reducing recovery times of injury and post-surgery rehab."

Barry Goudriaan
Head Physiotherapy/Sports Science and Medicine Lead
Northants Cricket and T20 Champions Northamptonshire Steelbacks


Testimonials of Athletes

"The Hilotherm device has already helped me many times to cure minor injuries caused for instance by slashing or swiftly moving pucks. It enables faster healing which is very useful in the intensive NHL season. Yet another advantage is the size of the device. It is easy to transport and does not use much space."

Raphael Diaz
NHL Ice Hockey Player
Montreal Canadiens

"I was thoroughly impressed with how comfortable and effective the treatment is for both new and old injuries – I knew I had to purchase one for myself as it would help me recuperate much faster. I'm looking forward to being fit and ready for future fights with the help of Hilotherapy."

David Haye

"Team GB Boxing used Hilotherapy in both the lead up to and during the London 2012 Olympic Games. The treatment was primarily used for helping our boxers overcome specific injuries they had sustained previously. The feedback from the athletes that used the treatment was very positive including our first ever women’s Olympic Gold Medallist Nicola Adams who used the treatment for her hand and our first ever women’s World Champion Savannah Marshall who used the treatment on her lower leg. The medical team responsible for using this treatment with our boxers would be more than happy to recommend its use to others."

Matt Holt
Programme Director for GB Boxing

"At home I sit with the Hilotherapy cuff strapped to my knee. Ice packs can burn a bit but Hilotherapy is really comfortable. It really helped me recover for Strictly come Dancing and I was able to tango again."

Jade Johnson
Olympic Long Jumper

"On April 15th 2014, I ruptured my Achilles tendon competing in a T20 match for Northamptonshire County Cricket Club in Barbados. I was rushed home and underwent immediate surgery to repair the damage. The club Physiotherapist, Barry Goudriaan and Tony Ley from Hilotherapy decided that the best option for my recovery was to install a Hilotherm ankle cuff underneath my cast so that I could have continuous cooling to my Achilles. The cuff was fitted relatively easily and I was immediately plugged into the machine with the temperature set to 12ºC. After being discharged the following day, I set up my camp for the next 2 weeks in my living room (see picture). I had the Hilotherm on 24/7 for the initial few days and I cannot tell you how thank full I am that I had it. The initial pain after the operation was excruciating but as soon as the machine was turned on, I instantly had relief. This continued to the extent that after 5 days I stopped taking any of my prescribed pain killers and just used the Hilotherm as my pain relief. It really did work that well! The initial stages for me were all about controlling the pain and the Hilotherm certainly did that. Anyone who has been in a cast will know that it gets very hot and sweaty underneath! I was lucky that the Hilotherm Machine negated any of this for me and I had complete control of the temperature making my time on the sofa far more comfortable.

The next stage of my recovery was to begin Physiotherapy when the cast came off after two weeks. Initially my ankle and calf began to swell up significantly after any treatments. This period was when I really needed the Hilotherpy to reduce swelling and tissue damage. Immediately after a session I would put the ankle cuff on but also wrap a cuff around my calf as well so I had control of the whole area. The effects were incredible and after about an hour of a constant, slightly warmer temperature, the swelling had nearly disappeared and enabled me to regain some of the movement back in my ankle. 

I am now nearly 2 months post operation and my progress has been very positive. I am using the Hilotherm machine twice daily and after every rehab session that I undergo. I would recommend the technology to absolutely anybody, not only in sport but anybody that has an injury where they want to have more control over the rehabilitation process. I still have a long way to go in my recovery but I have absolutely no doubt that I would not have progressed as quickly as I have without the use of my Hilotherm machine. I will continue to use the machine until I get back to full fitness. Thank you to Tony and everyone at the company for all the support!"

Alex Wakely
Northampton County Cricketer

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