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How to use the POLICE Principle

Tuesday, 13 February 2018 10:17

How to use the POLICE Principle. Hopefully, you're all now familiar with what the POLICE Principle is from my previous post. So, how do we use it effectively? In most cases you will use it to treat any acute injury where there is swelling or bruising. Lets pick a sprained ankle as an example. Your foot is swollen and is starting to resemble a balloon with toes. Firstly, it needs to be protected. Stop doing whatever it was you were doing, and make sure you don't do anything else over the next few days to make it worse. This will mean keeping your weight off the affected ankle, avoiding exercise and perhaps not going to work. Now, jump straight to ice. Apply ice for 10 minutes every hour, or as frequently as possible for the next 2-3 days. Don't apply the ice directly to the skin, and don't be tempted to apply it for longer as it will just make things worse. Now, compress it with a bandage or ankle support, get it elevated, and keep protecting it. You are now in what's called the "acute phase". This phase is the damaged blood vessels bleeding into the surround tissues and the time it takes for the body to close off those blood vessels. Optimal loading at this point may be something as simple as wiggling your toes and gently flexing and extending your foot. If you do too much and it starts to swell again, the acute phase starts all over again. To the best of my knowledge there is little else you can do to shorten this phase as it is governed by our biological healing process. Once the swelling has stopped and perhaps even subsided a little, that's when you can start seeking therapy for it. The initial stages of therapy may include very light massage and mobilisation as anything too firm at this stage with just open those damaged blood vessels again and restart the acute phase again. Depending on the severity of the injury, you may still have to employ the POLICE principle for several more days after having had therapy while gradually increasing the amount optimal loading. The better job you do in managing the acute phase, the better and easier the remain phases will be. Yes, it's a bit of a chore icing and such every hour, but if you want to be back at your best sooner rather than later, that's what you have to do.

If you need advice on what to do, message me, I don't mind.