Field Tested: Penguin Fingers Wrist Cold Compression Pack

·3 min read

This article originally appeared on Climbing

Slopers, mantels, meat hooks, oh my!

If you have wrist pain, you know what I'm talking about. You're cruising along, and then there's that hold that requires serious wrist torque. You think, "It's fine, I'll just grab the hold for a second." But almost immediately there's that dull ache, and then your wrist hurts for the rest of the day. Even if you don't grab or stab out at a funky hold, chances are you have tight wrists anyways--the wrists have more innovators, movers, and connectors per square inch than any other body part! Simply being on your keyboard all day and then hitting the gym may cause tight, sore wrists.

Penguin Fingers, based out of Las Vegas, should be on your radar, if it's not already. They produce not only cold compression packs for fingers, but also the Wrist Cold Compression Pack, which combines the benefits of cold therapy and compression to alleviate pain, reduce swelling, and promote faster healing. They get damn cold, too. Like an ice pack, you pop them in the freezer overnight or for a few hours, and then they're ready to use.

The company was developed by a Black Belt jiu jitsu instructor who was pre-arthritic and felt as though he had "sand" in his joints. After trial and error and a few iterations, Penguin Fingers was born using hypoallergenic and nontoxic materials. The wraps are free from PVC, BPA, phthalates, and a slew of other acronyms, which mean they won't cause itchiness or irritation. They're stretchy, yet have proven durable, and should they ever pop, you needn't worry about that blue goo sending you to the chem shower.

Mostly, I appreciated the convenience of the wrist pack. You can don each sleeve and keep doing chores or sit comfortably watching TV, which is a pretty amazing step up from the classic bowl-and-ice combo. Because the wraps squeeze your wrists gently, they feel impressively cold. Seriously: I'm a bit of a weeny, and sometimes had to give them a minute or two to warm up before putting them on. If you're like me, you could probably also wrap a paper towel around your wrist to act as a thin barrier. The sleeves remain icy for about 20 minutes, and then it's best to pop them back into the freezer. Believe me, you'll be good to go by the time they've warmed back up. After wearing them for about 10 to 15 minutes a day, I've felt markedly less crackly. My joints glide over each other better, and the extensors/rotators in my forearm--which are perpetually tight--are more relaxed, almost like I never even tried that dumb sloper problem in the corner. These ice packs are better than ibuprofen because the effects are longer lasting, and you're not ruining your gut while you're at it.

If I had to name a con, it's this: The wrist sleeves are perfect for my smallish wrists. For my boyfriend, they were a tad too tight. He was afraid to wear them too much, lest they break, although it's been a month or two of us regularly using them, and they have yet to bust. It does say in the description that the Wrist Cold Compression Pack is designed for small to medium wrists, so there you have it. If your hand-bangles are large, these might not be for you (apologies to the Jimmy Webb and Yves Gravelle's of the world).

At just $15.95 for the pack, which comes with two sleeves, that's a bargain. I just threw my old ice pack away, in fact. For climbers who are looking for wrist relief, this pack is an excellent choice.

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