Soft tissue injuries need PEACE and LOVE


Have you rolled your ankle or twisted your knee? Is it a little swollen and starting to bruise? While your reaction may be to ice it and rest for a few days, or a few weeks? New evidence have shown that that may not be the best care!

Recent studies have shown that inflammation may be the factor that assists healing and so while ice and medication may make us feel better temporarily, it’s best to compress with a bandage and elevate the injured site above the level of the heart and let pain guide our return to movement.

The new acronym PEACE, for immediate care, and LOVE, for recovery, can guide us to better outcomes, instead of just damage control!

While it’s common for us to respond to traumatic/acute injuries with the use of ice, recent studies have questioned this long term belief. Turns out, our soft tissue injuries need PEACE immediately and LOVE soon after. While anti inflammatories, like ice or NSAIDS, show improvements in pain, they inadvertently may be compromising optimal tissue repair. So, how do you manage your recent ankle sprain?

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First, you try peace for a few days.

P for protect – Minimize how much walking or movement for 1-3 days to limit bleeding and upsetting the structures around the injury site. Use pain as a guide (aim for less than 3/10 pain)

E for elevate – lift the injured limb above the level of the heart to promote tissue recovery/drain the fluid from the limb

A for avoid anti-inflammatories – contrary to previous belief, inflammation is an important phase of recovery. Thus, inhibiting inflammation with the use of ice or NSAIDS will ultimately compromise our healing rate.

C for compress – Taping or bandages can create a form of external pressure that will reduce swelling around the joint and bleeding around the injury site.

E for education – It’s important to know what treatments are appropriate and which are less favored at this phase of recovery. Passive modalities, such as electrotherapy, may be more harmful than helpful. Taking an active approach is helpful in restoring range of motion and improving function.

And after a few days of peace, we need a little LOVE.

L is for load – re introducing walking/movement can encourage recovery, once symptoms allow. Too long away from loading? Can affect how well we recover.

O is for optimism – optimistic expectations and beliefs about our injury can lead to improved outcomes and function.

V is for vascularisation – once symptoms allow, exercise is encouraged after a few days to increase blood flow to the injury site. Early mobilisation, or movement, can reduce the need for pain relief.

E is for exercise – early exercise can develop range of motion, strength and improve proprioception to enable us to recover, as well as reduce risk of further injury

And C for Call us if there’s anything else we can do to help you.


Written by Chloe Wehbe

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