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POLICE Therapy

If you have been brought to this page via a link in the conditions section, it is because POLICE therapy may be helpful for the condition you were looking at. Please make sure your condition has been properly diagnosed before treating yourself at home.

Why not find a podiatrist to get some personal advice and a diagnosis? 

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What does POLICE stand for:


Optimal Load




POLICE therapy is an excellent way to treat some injuries. The difficulty is that different injuries, pains or problems require different environments to allow healing. POLICE is a general acronym which can help if you suffer an injury.

Protect. In the 1st instance if you suffer from an injury, you should protect the area to prevent it from getting worse, resting and avoiding aggravating activities or footwear that perhaps caused or made the problem worse.

Optimal Loading. Protecting the area and resting completely for too long however can be detrimental and can sometimes slow healing. Injured tissues will need appropriate loading to allow them to heal and recover, however this should be based on advice from a medical professional who has diagnosed the problems. Too much too soon could slow or impair healing.

Ice therapy is the application of cold to the skin in order to try and reduce inflammation and pain. This can help manage the symptoms of many foot and ankle conditions.

There are risks with ice therapy and some research to suggest that dampening inflammation after an acute injury may be counterproductive. There is more and more focus within the medical community around the benefits of inflammation as part of the body’s healing processes with some medical professionals challenging the use of ice therapy in the management of injuries.

Some people do find Ice therapy useful however to help control their pain. If ice therapy has been recommended personally for you, and if you find it to be helpful for managing your symptoms, then the information here may be of interest to you.

  • A general guide would be to apply ice to the painful or swollen area for 10 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day. Do not do for longer that this or more often than this unless advised otherwise by an appropriate health professional.
  • Monitor the feet and skin well and stop if you have any pains or problems related to the ice.
  • Do not apply ice directly to the skin as this may cause a burn, use a thin towel around the ice, or keep your socks on if it’s a foot problem.
  • Ice therapy may not be appropriate if you suffer from poor circulation or any medical conditions that may make using cold/ice therapy unsafe. Speak with a health professional if this is the case.
  • Ice therapy is usually coupled with resting and trying to avoid activities that aggravate the problem.
  • If the skin is broken or you may have a more serious or acute injury, fracture, dislocation, rupture or tear of soft tissues, make sure you get appropriate medical advice or emergency medical treatment from Accident and Emergency / Minor Injuries Unit, or call NHS 111 to find out what you should do, or 999 if it is an emergency.

Compression is designed to reduce excessive inflammation in the area primarily to allow effective healing. Be careful that compression is not too tight. It is really important to take advice here as you could over compress and injury and make things worse (i.e. cut off the blood supply or push fluid the wrong way).

Elevation is recommended to aid fluid return to the circulatory and waste removal systems and prevent pooling of fluid in the extremities (often in the legs and feet this can become a huge issue)

POLICE Therapy