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Acute injuries need PEACE & LOVE

We’ve been told to RICE (rest, ice, compress, elevate) or POLICE (protection, rest, ice, compress, elevate) immediately after an injury. But it’s time for immediate PEACE then LOVE to optimise your recovery following an acute injury.


Protection – modify by unloading or restricting your movement and activities for 1-3 days. Prolong rest should be minimised as this can influence recovery timeframes following an injury. A study by Kilroe (2020) found that a muscle could reduce in size by approximately 5% following one week (approximately 0.8% per day) of a period of immobilisation using crutches and a brace.

Elevation – elevate the injured body part higher than the heart as often as you can during the day.

Avoid anti-inflammatories – there is some discussion to minimise taking anti-inflammatory medications and icing an injured area due to its potential influence on initial tissue healing. However it is recommended to discuss with your health and/or medical professional about how medication or icing may or may not have a role in your management plan following injury.

Compression – use an appropriate fitted and sized elastic bandage (such as tubigrip) or taping to reduce swelling.

Education – minimise reliance on passive treatments and avoid unnecessary medical investigations during the early stages of your recovery following injury. Your physiotherapist will be able to assist you to gain an understanding on what is your injury, how to appropriately manage load, and how to minimise reaggravation of the injury. Your Physiotherapist will also be able to guide when further medical investigations (such as imaging) may be required as a part of your management plan.


Load – commence gradual return to movement and normal activities as guided by your pain. Activities will be modified during the early stages of your management however should be progressively loaded and progressed to build tissue health and tolerance as your symptoms settle.

Optimism – beliefs about the injury and associated feelings and emotions can influence your overall recovery. Speak to your Physiotherapist to gain an understanding of your injury and to establish a management plan with clear expectations.

Vascularisation – commence pain-free aerobic based activities (such as cycling, swimming, walking etc) with the aim to increase blood flow to repairing tissues after a few days following injury.

Exercise – develop an exercise program with your Physiotherapist to restore mobility, endurance, strength and proprioception and control. Have a discussion with your Physiotherapy to understand appropriate pain responses to and following exercise, and how to guide exercise progressions. It’s no longer ‘no pain no game’ but instead ‘know your pain to gain’!

Need help with an injury?

If you’re not sure how to manage an injury that may be muscle, ligament of joint related, and want to see one of our other Physiotherapists for this issue, you can:


Dubois, B & Esculier, J 2020, ‘Soft-tissue injuries simply need peace and love’, British Journal of Sports Medicine, vol. 54, no. 2, pp 3-5.

Kilroe, S, Fulford, J, Jackman, S, Van Loon, L & Wall, B 2020, ‘Temporal muscle-specific disuse atrophy during one week of leg immobilization’, American College of Sports Medicine, vol. 52, no. 4, pp. 944-954.

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