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Soft tissue injury treatments: From traditional methods to PEACE and LOVE

swollen ankles injury

Summer activities often lead to increased movement and, unfortunately, a higher risk of injuries such as sprains and strains. When faced with such injuries, the traditional response has typically included methods like ice and over-the-counter pain relievers. However, recent medical advice suggests a shift in how we treat these injuries initially.


Historically, the acronym RICE, which stands for rest, ice, compress, and elevate, guided the treatment of soft tissue injuries. This later evolved into PRICE, with the P emphasizing protection of the injured area. Recently, a new approach called PEACE and LOVE has been gaining attention, introduced by Canadian researchers in 2020 through the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

What does PEACE and LOVE stand for?

  • PEACE – Protect, Elevate, Avoid anti-inflammatories, Compress, and Educate. This approach focuses on natural healing and advises against the immediate use of anti-inflammatory measures like icing and NSAIDs.
  • LOVE – Load, Optimism, Vascularization, and Exercise. This part of the treatment starts after the initial few days, emphasizing a gradual return to activity and a positive outlook for recovery.

The debate over anti-inflammatories

There is a growing debate among experts about the use of anti-inflammatories immediately after an injury. Some specialists argue that suppressing inflammation with ice and NSAIDs could delay the body’s natural healing process, which relies on inflammation to clear damaged tissues and initiate repair. However, the effectiveness and safety of avoiding these common treatments have not been conclusively proven in human studies and remain a topic of ongoing research.

Practical advice for injury management

Despite the emerging recommendations, many medical professionals still recognize the benefits of traditional treatments like ice and NSAIDs for reducing pain and swelling. If you experience significant discomfort, these methods can still provide relief. For minor injuries, the PRICE method remains a viable option. However, if symptoms persist or worsen, consulting a health care provider is advisable.

Ultimately, the treatment should be tailored to the individual’s specific situation, guided by both traditional practices and the latest medical insights.