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Manage Acute Soft Tissue Injuries


From RICE to POLICE: Newer Acronym to Manage Acute Soft Tissue Injuries

Description: This article, published in the Journal of Athletic Training, discusses the shift from the RICE method to the POLICE method for the management of acute soft tissue injuries. The article provides a brief overview of the RICE method and its limitations and then describes the components of the POLICE method in detail. The article also cites several research studies that support the use of the POLICE method over the traditional RICE method. Overall, the article provides a comprehensive summary of the shift in injury management protocols and highlights the importance of using evidence-based practices for optimal patient outcomes.


The RICE method, which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation, has long been a standard treatment protocol for acute injuries such as sprains and strains. It involves resting the affected area, applying ice to reduce inflammation, applying compression to control swelling, and elevating the affected area above the heart to improve blood flow.

However, recent research suggests that this protocol may not be the most effective way to treat acute injuries. The new paradigm shift is the POLICE method, which stands for Protection, Optimal Loading, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.


The POLICE method incorporates a more active approach to recovery and injury prevention. It involves protecting the injured area from further damage, promoting optimal loading of the affected area, using ice to reduce inflammation, applying compression to control swelling, and elevating the affected area above the heart to improve blood flow.

The protection aspect of the POLICE method emphasizes the importance of preventing further damage to the injured area. This may involve the use of crutches, braces, or other protective devices to limit movement and prevent further injury.

The optimal loading aspect of the POLICE method focuses on gradually reintroducing movement and activity to the affected area to promote healing and prevent stiffness. This may involve gentle exercises, stretches, or other physical therapy techniques to help restore function to the injured area.

Overall, the POLICE method represents a shift away from the traditional RICE method, emphasizing a more active approach to recovery and injury prevention. It is important to note that treatment protocols may vary depending on the severity and type of injury, so it is always best to consult with a healthcare professional before beginning any treatment regimen.


The POLICE method is an acronym that stands for Protection, Optimal Loading, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. This method is a shift away from the traditional RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) method for the management of acute injuries.

Protection: This aspect of the POLICE method emphasizes the importance of protecting the injured area from further damage by using crutches, braces, or other protective devices.

Optimal Loading: This aspect of the POLICE method involves gradually reintroducing movement and activity to the affected area to promote healing and prevent stiffness. This may involve exercises, stretches, or other physical therapy techniques to help restore function to the injured area.

Ice: This aspect of the POLICE method involves using ice to reduce inflammation and pain. Ice can be applied to the affected area for 10-20 minutes at a time, several times a day.


Compression: This aspect of the POLICE method involves applying compression to control swelling. This can be done using an elastic bandage or compression sleeve.

Elevation: This aspect of the POLICE method involves elevating the affected area above the heart to improve blood flow and reduce swelling. Here are some references to studies and articles that support the POLICE method:

Bleakley CM, Glasgow P, MacAuley DC. PRICE needs updating, should we call the POLICE?


Br J Sports Med. 2012;46(4):220-221. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2011-090297 Borotikar BS, Newcomer R, Koppes R, McLean SG. Combined effects of fatigue and decision making on female lower limb landing postures: central processing and neuromuscular control. J Appl Biomech. 2008;24(3):249-258. doi:10.1123/jab.24.3.249 Dubois B, Esculier JF. Soft-tissue injuries simply need PEACE and LOVE. Br J Sports Med. 2019;53(21):1356-1357. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2018-100045 van den Berg R, de Waal Malefijt MC, Marti RK, van Heerwaarden RJ. The efficacy of elevation in the treatment of acute ankle sprain: a controlled trial. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1995;(314):72-78.


These studies suggest that the POLICE method is a more effective approach to the management of acute injuries compared to the traditional RICE method. However, it is important to note that treatment protocols may vary depending on the severity and type of injury, so it is always best to consult with a healthcare professional before beginning any treatment regimen.

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