The Athletic World Has Been Healing Injuries The Wrong Way For Decades

Average gas price was $0.63, Jimmy Carter was president of the United States, Kobe Bryant was born and Pete Rose hit his 3000th hit. You are most likely thinking what in the world does any of that have to do with injury management?

Well, something else significant occurred in the sports medicine field in 1978—the origin of the acronym “RICE,” which is short for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. A seemingly simple and well-received injury management method coined by Dr. Gabe Mirkin caught on very quickly.

Let’s fast-forward 39 years. In 2017, the sports medicine field is conducting ground-breaking research and making advances in athlete and patient care every single day. But in terms of injury management, we have been stuck in a time capsule. Do you know what that time capsule was filled with? A whole lot of RICE (see what I did there?).

In all seriousness, the way we have been handling injuries has been sub par, and because of our lack of efficiency in the management process, athletes have been on the sidelines longer than needed. It should be noted as well that this problem is multifaceted and isn’t entirely on clinicians. The RICE technique and its core components are still being taught in classrooms today. My goal is to help you understand that we can do better. In this article, I will dive into what we have been doing wrong for so long, why it isn’t working and what we can do moving forward to facilitate the healing process more efficiently.

In this article, I will dive into what we have been doing wrong for so long, why it isn’t working and what we can do moving forward to facilitate the healing process more efficiently.

To start, I will give you a new acronym. Yes, I realize it seems like we throw many of these at you, but this one needs to stick and it is easy to remember. It is coined as the “POLICE” method.

P – Protect the Injury

OL – Optimal Loading

I – Ice

C – Compression

E – Elevation

You may notice there are still aspects of the POLICE method that overlap from RICE, and that is purposeful, but these aspects are modified from how they’ve been used, and it’s been proven to be much more effective in how injuries are managed.

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