How to Manage Acute Soft Tissue Injuries
It is very common for patients to see their doctor regarding soft tissue injuries to muscles, ligaments, or tendons. Their doctor will evaluate their situation and most likely recommend RICE (aka Rest Ice Compression and Elevation) as a treatment. RICE is one of the few things most active people seem to remember when it comes to soft tissue injury management.
The RICE treatment has had minor alterations such as adding Protection (to make it PRICE) or developing it towards a more active protocol by adding Movement instead of Rest to make MICE. POLICE (Protection Optimal Loading Ice Compression Elevation) is the newest and most supported alteration but your doctor will help guide you on which is best for your situation.
Why POLICE your soft tissue injury?
Scientists have found that the “Rest” phase in RICE was short and that an active mobilization of the injury had many benefits.
Some benefits of active mobilization:
- Stimulates the healing process in bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons
- Reduces the weakness, loss of proprioception and stiffness associated with injury immobilization
- Promotes pain relief if loading does not stimulate a protective response (Pain)
How to prevent soft-tissue injuries
Many soft-tissue injuries can be prevented through proper conditioning and training (injuries often occur when people suddenly increase the duration, intensity, or frequency of their activities).
Simple prevention tips include:
- Warm up: Warm up to prepare for exercise, even before stretching. Run in place for a few minutes, breathe slowly and deeply, or gently rehearse the motions of the exercise to follow. Warming up increases your heart and blood flow rates and loosens up muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints.
- Stretch: Begin stretches slowly and carefully until reaching a point of muscle tension. Hold each stretch for 10 to 20 seconds, then slowly and carefully release it. Inhale before each stretch and exhale as you release. Do each stretch only once. Never stretch to the point of pain, always maintain control, and never bounce on a muscle that is fully stretched.
- Use proper equipment: Replace your athletic shoes as they wear out. Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes that let you move freely and are light enough to release body heat.
Speak with an Orthopedic Specialist Today
Are you suffering from a recent injury? Make an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists today to start your healing journey. OrthoArizona has nearly two dozen offices throughout the Valley, each focused on quality care, compassion, and excellent customer service. Since 1994, OrthoArizona has been dedicated to compassionate care of the highest quality.
The advice and information contained in this article are for educational purposes only and are not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational, medical material.