What Is the Best Treatment for A Soft Tissue Injury?
The new concept being adopted in sports physiotherapy works to optimize the recovery continuum of immediate treatment to subsequent management following an injury. Research has shown that the protocols once used by clinicians to treat acute injuries only address the immediate phase – neglecting the subacute or chronic injury phases.
If you play sports or exercise, you’re probably already familiar with RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. Although it was once the most widely-advocated pain relief practice for acute injuries, research now suggests that we give some ‘PEACE’ with ‘LOVE’ instead. These two new complementary acronyms, which replace RICE, reflect the complexity of acute injury treatment.
Originally, RICE and PRICE (protection, rest, ice, compression, elevation) were the two protocols for soft tissue injury treatment. They focused mainly upon modalities as well as limiting activity. Next, the POLICE model (protection, optimal loading, ice compression, elevation) replaced rest with the idea that early loading can help with recovery. However, the optimal loading varies by person and the severity and type of injury.
PEACE & LOVE aims to treat all stages of injury. The protocol also focuses on the importance of patient educating and mental wellness to enhance the recovery process.
PEACE for Injury Recovery Process
Let’s explore exactly how we can relieve pain for an acute sports injury with PEACE as part of a home remedy for injury swelling.
- Protect Limit your movement immediately after an injury to minimize bleeding, typically within the first 1 to 3 days. Unload pressure to prevent tissue from swelling or further aggravating the injury. As prolonged rest can lead to tissue degradation and strength loss, it is important that minimize the period of rest. The amount of pain that you experience should be directly proportional to the amount of rest to protect your injury.
- Elevate Position the affected limb high above the heart. This will reduce fluid build-up and encourage microcirculation. Raising your injured limb above your heart aids in the flow between blood and lymphatic systems that transport essential proteins throughout the body.
- Avoid anti-inflammatory medications Inflammation is part the body’s natural healing process to repair damaged tissue. Long-term tissue healing may be affected if you take medications that slow down the inflammatory process. A new perspective also suggests that icing injuries can impair the immune cell response that’s needed for tissue damage repair.
- Compression Bandages or tape may be used to reduce swelling.
- Education We place patient education at the forefront of our treatment philosophy. When patients are better informed about their musculoskeletal condition and acute injury treatment plan, overtreatment is less likely. Healing response also often improves. As part of an active approach towards injury rehabilitation, our physiotherapy team will work with you on the best physiotherapy treatment options for your specific case.
Give Some LOVE A Few Days after an Injury
After a few days following a sprain, strain or tendinitis acute sports injury, it’s time to give your tissues some LOVE.
- Load Optimal load benefits patients with musculoskeletal injuries as it helps muscle stem cells to activate. Return to normal activity and exercise as soon as your symptoms improve, as muscles regenerate around 7 to 10 days following an injury. This is essential to rebuild and heal tissue structures, such as tendons, ligaments, and muscles.
- Optimism A positive outlook can make a difference in your recovery process. Psychological factors that are rooted in fear or catastrophizing results can negatively impact your recovery and set a negative mental tone in your recovery process.
- Vascularization Exercise and movement are essential for pain management after musculoskeletal injuries in addition to the therapeutic effects of heat. Cardiovascular activity increases blood flow and circulation to the injured area. The effects of heat also increase blood flow to an area, increase lymph flow, reduce swelling and relax muscles.
- Exercise There is evidence to support the use of exercise as part of the treatment of sprained ankles or other recurrent injuries. Physical activity can build strength, improve mobility and restore balance. You can help ensure maximum recovery during the subacute phase of your recovery by gradually increasing the intensity of your exercise program.
Management of soft tissue injuries goes beyond short-term damage prevention. Whether you’re looking for physiotherapy to address foot and ankle pain or a hip and knee condition, our physiotherapy team at HelloPhysio will collaborate with you to develop a treatment plan that favors long-term positive clinical outcomes.
As a leading Singapore physiotherapy clinic, HelloPhysio’s team educates patients on how to understand and treat injuries using evidence-based therapies. We give patients the information they need to prevent recurrent or repetitive motion injuries and avoid unnecessary treatment. Our patients are encouraged to be involved at every stage in their injury recovery process.
If you’re interested in how to make sports injuries heal faster, contact our physio clinic. We’ll be happy to help you with the best physiotherapy treatment and management for your soft tissue and acute sports injury.
How do you make sports injuries heal faster (and smarter)? Read more about the services provided at our sports injury clinic Singapore.