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J Athl Train. 1993 Fall; 28(3): 236, 238, 241-245.
PMCID: PMC1317720

The Effects Of Ice And Compression Wraps On Intramuscular Temperatures At Various Depths

Mark A. Merrick, MA, ATC
Mark A. Merrick is Athletic Trainer at Northeast Physical Therapy Centers, Brookfield, CT 06776.
Kenneth L. Knight, PhD, ATC
Kenneth L. Knight is Professor of Physical Education and Director of Graduate Athletic Training at Indiana State University, Terre Haute, Ind.
Christopher D. Ingersoll, PhD, ATC
Christopher D. Ingersoll is Assistant Professor of Physical Education at Indiana State University, Terre Haute, Ind.


While ice and compression wraps are commonly used to treat musculoskeletal injuries, the literature describing intramuscular temperatures has not addressed the combination of ice and compression wraps. The purpose of this study was to evaluate intramuscular temperatures at three sites on the anterior thigh (skin surface, 1 cm below the fat layer, and 2 cm below the fat layer) using both ice and compression wraps. Temperatures were recorded in 11 subjects with an isothermex, using implantable and surface thermocouples. Each subject was tested under four conditions: control, compression only, ice only, and ice + compression according to a balanced Latin square. Surface and intramuscular temperatures were recorded at 30 second intervals during 5 minutes of preapplication, 30 minutes application, and 20 minutes postapplication. A repeated measures ANOVA and Duncan post hoc tests were used to evaluate peak temperature differences between the treatment conditions and the depths of measurement. Both ice alone and ice + compression produced significant cooling at all three depths (F(6,60) = 168.5, p<.0005). Likewise, during the 20-minute postapplication period, these temperatures did not return to their preapplication levels. The compression-only condition produced significant warming at the skin surface, but did not have any effect on intramuscular temperature. At all depths, the ice + compression condition produced significantly cooler temperatures than ice alone. We suggest that compression increases the effectiveness of ice in reducing tissue temperatures. Therefore, ice combined with compression should be more effective than ice alone in reducing the metabolism of injured tissue. This provides an additional rationale for combining ice with compression in treating acute musculoskeletal injuries.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
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Articles from Journal of Athletic Training are provided here courtesy of National Athletic Trainers Association