When an ankle stops moving effectively, the muscles of the calf suffer. Say you lose 25% of your ankle range of motion, now physiologically the calf muscles begin to adapt to their new demands. The fibbers that help the muscle open up to it normal range of motion begin to contract over time. I use the analogy of some glue being spilled inside your muscle and hardening around the fibers that are no longer stretched due to the restricted ankle motion. Now, when this individual with the restricted ankle and compromised calf muscle tries to do something explosive like run up a hill, hit a golf ball out of the heavy ruff, or burnout on roundhouse kicks, their calf is setup to fail. The injury will occur when the muscle fibers of the calf that are doing all the work fatigue, or when the person puts the foot in a position where that lost 25% range of motion is needed and the weak contracted (glued) muscle are challenged.
The moral of this blog post is stretch your ankles and calf muscles, and don’t ignore your glute muscles when it comes to preventing future calf strains. If the glutes don’t contract, a person can compensate and try to generate all of the needed force from the calf to try to push the body into rotation and extension. Of course you can only do this so long before something breaks down!