Muscle strains are common injuries to the foot and ankle. A strain can occur from both participating in physical activities, such as sports or exercise, or from simple everyday activities. The muscles in the foot and ankle are responsible for some of the human body’s most essential motor functions such as walking, running, jumping, and standing up right. As a result, these actively used muscles are highly susceptible to muscle strain. A strain occurs when the muscles or tendons that hold the muscles to the bone are pulled beyond their capacity. Depending on the nature of the strain, sufferers report symptoms of pain, swelling and/or spasms. Common causes of muscle strain include falling down, tripping, landing improperly while running or jumping, a sudden twist or rotation of the ankle, or other trauma. Strains are graded in three categories based on their severity.
Grade 1 strain: minimal stretching of the fibers in the muscle or tendon
Grade 2 strain: significant damage to the fibers in the muscle or tendon, some fibers may be torn
Grade 3 strain: complete rupture of the fibers in the muscle or tendon
Genesis Orthopedics & Sports Medicine will perform a full physical evaluation to determine the severity of the strain and provide one or more treatment options.
Muscles and tendons have the ability to heal themselves over time. Bracing is a method to immobilize the affected muscle or tendon to eliminate any further injury and accelerate the healing process.
The rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE) method is an initial treatment for muscle strain. Depending on the nature of the injury and how healing progresses, physical therapy may be prescribed to gradually increase tendon and muscle strength and return the foot and ankle to a normal range of motion.