A soft tissue injury (STI) is the damage of muscles, ligaments and tendons concerning the specific injury. Common soft tissue injuries usually occur from a sprain, strain, or a one-off blow resulting in a contusion or overuse of a particular part of the body.
An acronym wildly used to help treat sprains is ‘peace and love’. This encompasses the rehabilitation continuum from immediate care (PEACE) to subsequent management (LOVE).
Immediately after a sort tissue injury, approach the injury PEACE-fully
P for Protect
Restrict movement for around 3 days to minimize bleeding and to prevent further aggravation of the injury. Minimize rest as prolonged rest can compromise strength and lead to stiffness. Rely on pain signals and gradually reload your weight.
E for Elevate
Elevation of the limb or body where the injury is located is recommended to promote inflammatory fluid flow from out of the tissue. Try to elevate the limb higher than the heart to get true benefits.
A for Avoid Anti-inflammatory Modalities
Anti-inflammatory medications may potentially be detrimental for long-term tissue healing. The various phases of inflammation contribute to optimal soft tissue regeneration. Inhibiting such an important process using pharmacological modalities is not recommended as it could impair tissue healing, especially when a higher dosage is taken.
C for Compress
Compression after an ankle or wrist sprain has shown a reduction in swelling. Applying mechanical pressure using taping or bandages helps to limit intra-articular edema and tissue haemorrhage.
E for Educate
Education is key when it comes to recovering from soft tissue injuries, which is why therapists should educate patients on why taking an active approach to healing is key. Passive modalities such as electrotherapy, manual therapy or acupuncture immediately after the onset of the injury can have a trivial effect on pain and function. Educating patients on the condition and load management will help avoid overtreatment. Also, set realistic expectations and recovery times instead of chasing a magic treatment approach.
After a few days have passed, tissue injuries need some LOVE
L for Load
After the injury, normal activities should be resumed as soon as symptoms allow. Optimal loading without causing more pain promotes repair and helps strengthen tendons, muscles and ligaments.
O for Optimism
The brain can be a huge barrier when it comes to recovery. Being optimistic has been shown to generate a better recovery rate than those who are pessimistic. Pessimistic patient expectations are also associated with suboptimal outcomes and worse prognosis.
V for Vascularisation
Cardiovascular activities should be started a few days after injuries to increase blood flow to the injured area. Starting this blood flow has been shown to improve overall healing and reduce the need for pain medication while recovering.
E for Exercise
There is a strong level of evidence supporting the use of exercises for the treatment of ankle sprains and for reducing the prevalence of recurring injuries. Exercising to help restore mobility and strength should be done after each injury.
Using this approach for your injuries can have a significant impact on your recovery. Your therapist(s) at ONE80 Health will always treat with this protocol in mind. If you have any questions or would like to know more about this technique, click here and we will be sure to answer!