Super Rugby - M.I.C.E. First Aid treatment for an ankle sprain

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M.I.C.E. is an acronym meant to remind you how to apply first aid treatment for an ankle sprain.

The "M" stands for Motion, specifically dorsiflexion, or flexing the foot upwards. The idea is to get to this motion as quickly as possible after injury, but in a slow pain free manner, before swelling occurs, and once you get this motion, keep it.

The "I" in M.I.C.E. stands for Ice. Ice cubes in a plastic bag may be applied directly to the skin for a period of 20 minutes at a time.
For those sensitive to cold, a thin cloth may be applied between the ice and skin.
After 20 minutes, remove the ice and allow at least an hour for the skin to return to normal temperatures before applying ice again.
Never apply heat to an acute injury as this will increase bleeding and swelling.

The "C" in M.I.C.E. stands for compression. Compression is used to hold the ice bag in place over the site of injury,and after icing to help keep the swelling to a minimum and provide gentle support to the ankle.

"E" is for Elevation. Elevating an injury 12 to 18 inches above the heart significantly reduces the blood pressure to the injured tissues and decreases the amount of swelling after injury.

You'll notice that each of these treatments help to control swelling in the ankle. Research shows that swelling alone significantly slows the healing process. Therefore the more you can prevent swelling and the quicker we can get it out of an injured area, the faster the injury will heal.

The next time you are faced with an ankle sprain, just M.I.C.E.

This brief instructional video was produced for Marshfield Clinic's Sports Wrap quarterly newsletter. The newsletter is focused on delivering useful health information to coaches and parents of student athletes.

Subscriptions are free and can be done by providing your email address at Or you can find this issue and all the previous issues on Marshfield Clinic's web site
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