Devoted fans of FIRST ICE want to know: Why does FIRST ICE start to get hard after numerous uses and refreezes? The simple answer is that FIRST ICE will “wear out” after repeated use. In general, each FIRST ICE pack is good for about 50 to 60 uses. But if it is being used every day for hours at a time, it can wear out more quickly. So, if you are using FIRST ICE for a couple, or several, hours everyday post-surgery or post-trauma, it may wear out sooner.
In terms of the “why”, we haven’t really found a conclusive answer. There is a possibility that, after repeated use, the polymers in FIRST ICE that hold water (in fresh FIRST ICE they look like chunks of clear gelatin) start to break down and become smaller pieces. As larger pieces, the polymers keep the water molecules from bonding together to form solid ice, and help the water inside the FIRSTICE pack to form crystals instead. When the polymers are too small, they can’t keep the water molecules separate, and chucks of harder ice form upon freezing. You can break these up by banging the pack on the counter (one customer even uses a hammer!) and get a softer pack, but eventually, it may be more of a solid mass, and difficult to break.
There is not a right way to use the product to prevent this hardening. It will simply get a little less fluffy after each use and eventually need to be replaced. Your next question may be: Why should I pay a little more for FIRST ICE when the traditional gel pack costs the same or less and doesn’t harden? The answer is that the gel pack is an apple and FIRST ICE is an orange! FIRST ICE is superior cold therapy as compared to gel packs. FIRST ICE delivers effective cold therapy for up to three hours, and gel packs only last about 45 minutes out of the freezer. For true, effective cold therapy, you need ICE, not gel. FIRST ICE has all the convenience of gel, and the efficacy of ice. Ask your Physical Therapist or Doctor about cold therapy, and talk to him/her about FIRST ICE. Chances are, the professionals will tell you ice is best and FIRST ICE is better!