When it comes to a new acute injury (sporting or otherwise), there is a new principle in the initial management of your injuries.
The P.O.L.I.C.E. Principle will help guide you in the proper way to approach your acute injury, such and a ligament sprain or a muscle strain, and help to quickly get you back to your normal activities as soon as possible.
P.O.L.I.C.E. Principle for acute injury management:
- Protection: During the first few days after an injury, you should certainly rest the injured joint, ligament, or muscle. After a few days, gentle motion can be started while you still maintain a level of protection for the injured area, such as crutches, bracing, tape or other assistive device. Your Physio will be able to help guide you how best to protect the injured area.
- Optimum Loading: While you are protecting your injured body part, gentle motion can, and should, be started. Too often, we rest for too long after an injury and can increase the amount of time it takes us to return to normal due to increased stiffness and weakness in the injured area. Your Physio can guide you in a progressive rehabilitation program that will help load your injury and ensure optimal healing of the injured area.
- Ice: Applying ice may help to manage the swelling around your injury and help decrease some of the acute pain that you may be experiencing. Icing for around 20 minutes every 2 hours is usually effective.
- Compression: Compression is an effective tool to help manage the amount of swelling of an injured area. Your physiotherapist or local pharmacy can supply you with bandages or compression tubing, however, be sure that it is not on too tight to cut off circulation to the area.
- Elevation: Elevation is simple for some body parts and is essentially keeping the body part above the level of your heart. An injured ankle or knee can be placed on a stack of pillows while you are lying down. An injury to your elbow or wrist requires that you elevate your entire arm on something. Try elevating for 10 minutes every hour or more.
Most importantly, come in and see us at your earliest convenience so that we can assess your injury and help guide you through the P.O.L.I.C.E. protocol and suggest the proper management to get you back to 100% health.
It is also important in the first 48 hours post your initial injury to avoid “HARM” to minimise the amount of swelling and bleeding, which will also affect your recovery!
“No HARM” means no Heat, Alcohol, Running or Massage.