POLICE Arrest Soft Tissue Injuries

The acronym PRICE:

  • Prevention – be well prepared for your chosen activity,
  • Rest – stop doing activity,
  • Ice – put ice on the injured area to decrease the inflammation,
  • Compression – put something tight around the injured area to help prevent swelling
  • Elevation – put the injured area up to allow gravity to minimise swelling

has been used for years as the initial treatment of acute soft tissue (muscle, ligament, tendon) injuries.


However, it has been shown that Rest may n fact be detrimental to the correct repair of soft tissues.  A British Study suggests that a new acronym POLICE should replace PRICE.

This new acronym is:

  • Protection
  • Optimal Loading
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation

It still suggests some rest initially but only for a very short time as research shows that early mobilisation stresses tissues in the correct manner for full recovery, whereas rest can impair optimal recovery of soft tissue injuries.  The hard part of this is to correctly identify Optimal Loading, as it is different for different tissues and body parts.  Protection comes in as a way of achieving optimal loading – some injuries may require bracing, or crutches etc. to unload them enough to avoid further aggravation but still allow tissue stress to help with healing.  Althought there is little scientifice evidence for ICE there still seems to be enough anecdotal evidence to keep it for now.

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