Medically Reviewed by Dr. Luis Alberto Vallejo
What are Distortions
Muscle sprain is an injury caused by a non physiological joint movement, when the fibers of some muscles are stretched or torn or the muscle is excessively stretched. Sprain is a fairly common accident in sports, especially for the thigh and calf muscles. Another frequent sprain is that of the ankle, which can be mild, moderate with evident swelling, bruising (bruising) and difficulty walking or finally with complete rupture of the ligament with swelling and inability to walk. Localized trauma can lead to the formation of a hematoma, i.e. a collection of blood that is reabsorbed over several days. For more severe cases, immediate medical attention is required, also to exclude the presence of bone fractures.
How they manifest
The distortion manifests itself in a more or less accentuated way, depending on the severity of the damage, with intense and localized pain in the affected joint and aggravated by movement, flaccidity and swelling of the affected area with the development of a bluish-red color. All this is due to an acute local inflammation which usually begins to regress after 24-48 hours.
What should be done
- Cold: during the first 24 hours, apply the ice pack, wrapped in a piece of cloth, on the muscle for 10-20 minutes every hour. This serves to reduce swelling and has a good pain-relieving activity.
- Rest: keep the joint at rest and away from heat sources. However, it is good to start passive mobilization early (ie move the joint without loading with body weight) in order not to cause muscle weakening.
- Bandage: once the acute fact has been overcome, the joint can be moved with great caution, using an elastic bandage that provides the necessary support; be careful not to make too tight bandages that could hinder circulation.
- For the ankle: a splint can be applied, you must avoid placing the weight on the affected part and applying ice for 12-24 hours. After 24 hours, heat can also be used to decrease pain: the applied splint is removed and the ankle is immersed in hot water for 15 minutes. Keep the leg raised as long as possible to decrease swelling.
- To facilitate the night’s sleep, a support can be used so as not to ” weigh ” the sheets on the painful part.
- Anti-inflammatory and revulsive creams can provide temporary pain relief. If the pain is very intense, you may need to take painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs prescribed by your doctor.
- When resuming sports, scrupulously respect the muscle warm-up phase.
When to seek medical attention
It is advisable to consult a doctor in case of increased swelling, pain and extension of the hematoma, or if there is an unusual cooling of the affected part or a numbness of the toes in the case of the ankle.