Strain to any muscles or tendons that surround the ankle. Muscles, tendons and bones comprise units. These units stabilize the ankle and allow its motion. A strain occurs at the weakest part of a unit. Strains are of 3 types:
- Mild (Grade I) – Slightly pulled muscle without tearing of muscle or tendon fibers. There is no loss of strength.
- Moderate (Grade 11) – Tearing of fibers in a muscle, tendon or at the attachment to bone. Strength is diminished.
- Severe (Grade III) – Rupture of the muscle-tendon-bone attachment with separation of fibers. Severe strain requires surgical repair. Chronic strains are caused by overuse. Acute strains are caused by direct injury or overstress.
BODY PARTS INVOLVED
- Tendons and muscles surrounding the ankle.
- Lower-leg bones (tibia and fibula) and foot bones.
- Soft tissue surrounding the strained muscle and attached tendon, including nerves, periosteum (covering to bone), blood vessels and lymph vessels.
- Prolonged overuse of muscle-tendon units in the ankle.
- Single violent injury or force applied to the muscle-tendon unit in the ankle.
Signs & Symptoms
- Pain when moving or stretching the ankle.
- Muscle spasm in the calf.
- Tenderness to the touch
- Swelling in the ankle.
- Calcification of the muscle or its tendon (visible with X-ray).
- Inflammation of the sheath covering the tendon.
Follow your doctor’s instructions. These instructions are supplemental.
- Use instructions for R.I.C.E., the letters of rest, ice, compression and elevation.
- Use ice massage 3 or 4 times a day for 15 minutes at a time. Fill a large Styrofoam cup and freeze. Tear a small amount of foam from the top so ice protrudes. Massage firmly over the Injured area In a circle about the size of a softball.
- After the first 24 hours, apply heat instead of ice, if it feels better. Use heat lamps, hot soaks, hot showers, heating pads, or heat liniments or ointments.
- Take whirlpool treatments, if available.
- If a cast was used, wrap the injured ankle with an elasticized bandage between treatments after the cast is removed.
- Massage gently and often to provide comfort and decrease swelling.
- Eat a well-balanced diet that includes extra protein, such as meat, fish, poultry, cheese, milk and eggs. Increase fiber and fluid intake to prevent constipation that may result from decreased activity
- Participate in a strengthening and conditioning program appropriate for your sport.
- Warm up before practice or competition.
- Tape the ankle area before practice or competition.
- Wear proper shoes and protective equipment.