PEACE & LOVE for soft tissue injury management.

Acute soft tissue injuries are damage after a single traumatic event in your muscles, tendons or ligaments. For example, they can range anywhere between an ankle sprain during a netball game or a muscle tear in your hamstring during a football game. The management of these injuries has long been a debated topic. Should I ice or should I heat? Should I rest or should I move? Is bruising good or bad? In this blog I hope to update you on some new research and help you get back to full function quickly!


PEACE for immediate injury care!

The initial advice immediately after an acute soft tissue injury is to promote the best healing possible and minimize further damage. This includes the steps of Protection, Elevation, Avoiding anti-inflammatories where possible, Compression and Education. Inflammation and swelling are the best initial response after an acute injury because it is your body’s first step in trying to heal itself.

The notable difference between this and previous iterations of acute care is the lack of ice. There is a growing amount of research that is suggesting that icing may inhibit the tissue repair and therefore delay healing. However, ice (or cryotherapy) after an acute soft tissue injury can be beneficial for decreasing pain. So, if your pain is very severe (More than 7/10 pain level), icing may be an option.

Having an individualized treatment plan as soon after your injury as possible prevents poor movement habits and will minimize the chance of poor recovery. After your injury be sure to seek advice from your physiotherapist or other medical professionals to start your road to recovery!


LOVE for the days and weeks following!

Following an acute injury, the next steps are to focus on how to effectively heal the damaged tissues, but also look to prevent the injury reoccurring again. The first two steps are loading effectively, optimism and confidence in your recovery. Putting some load through your injury tissue is required for effective healing, however too much load can be dangerous. The last two steps are vascularisation and exercise. These two steps are key for total injury healing and injury prevention Putting it simply,  for new tissues to form effectively they need gentle but progressive loading with targeted and individualized exercises. There is lots of really good quality evidence showing an effective exercise program for injuries like ankle sprains, help significantly with decreasing injury prevalence in the long term.


As always, all injuries differ in location, severity and types of pain. Often it is difficult to gauge how much load is correct and how to best manage it. If you are experiencing pain and are unsure of the best path forward, the team here at South City Physio are always here to help. Just remember, at the end of the day all your injuries need is PEACE & LOVE!


Written by Ben Cunningham