Gastrocnemius muscle herniation as a rare differential diagnosis of ankle sprain: case report and review of the literature
Department of Surgery, Division of Trauma Surgery, University Hospital Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland
Patient Safety in Surgery 2012, 6:5 doi:10.1186/1754-9493-6-5Published: 14 March 2012
Muscle herniation of the leg is a rare clinical entity. Yet, knowing this condition is necessary to avoid misdiagnosis and delayed treatment. In the extremities, muscle herniation most commonly occurs as a result of an acquired fascial defect, often due to trauma. Different treatment options for symptomatic extremity muscle herniation in the extremities, including conservative treatment, fasciotomy and mesh repair have been described.
We present the case of a patient who presented with prolonged symptoms after an ankle sprain. The clinical picture showed a fascial insufficiency with muscle bulging under tension. Ultrasound and MRI imaging confirmed the diagnosis of muscle hernia of the medial gastrocnemius on the right leg. Conservative treatment did not lead to success. Therefore, the fascial defect was treated surgically by repairing the muscle herniation using a synthetic vicryl propylene patch.
Muscle hernias should be taken into consideration as a rare differential diagnosis whenever patients present with persisting pain or soft tissue swelling after ankle sprain. Diagnosis is mainly based on clinical aspect and physical examination, but can be confirmed by radiologic imaging techniques, including (dynamic) ultrasound and MRI. If conservative treatment fails, we recommend the closure with mesh patches for large fascial defects.