Redskins safety Phillip Thomas, Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell, and Jaguars running back Maurice Jones Drew are just two of many athletes to have sustained Lisfranc injuries. Lisfranc injuries refers to injuries that affects the joints that connect the metatarsals to the tarsals. Basically this injury occurs in the midfoot area. Most commonly these injuries are caused by a large amount of heavy pressure being placed on this area of the foot, such as when dropping heavy objects on the foot. The injuries can also be caused when the foot is twisted or rotated during a fall. Symptoms of a lisfranc injury include swelling of the foot as well as pain especially with activity. Another common sign of a lisfranc injury is bruising on the bottom of the foot.
When a lisfranc injury is suspected, your podiatrist will perform a thorough history and physical. This includes assessing the site of pain. To evaluate if the lisfranc joint is truly affected the podiatrist may put the joints under stress most likely by twisting the midfoot area. This will be painful with a lisfranc injury and not painful when performed on the unaffected foot. X-rays are essential in diagnosing this injury. On x-rays the bones of the midfoot may be fractured or midfoot joint space may be increasingly widened especially compared to the unaffected foot which implies ligament damage. If x-rays are normal and lisfranc injury is still suspected a CT scan can be done for further evaluation.
Treatment is dependent on the extent of the injury. For minor injuries with proper alignment of affected bones, a cast can be worn to immobilize the foot and allow healing for about 6 weeks. Often these injuries will require surgery so bones and joints are properly aligned and will heal correctly. Surgery will consist of placement of hardware which may vary from screws to wires to plates dependent on the injury and the surgeon preference. Recovery after this surgery will consist of casting for usually at least 6 weeks followed by gradual weight bearing and return to activity.
Atlantic Foot & Ankle Associates has four convenient office locations in Flagler and Volusia Counties. Our physicians are the experts on foot injuries and are known as the most trusted podiatry practice in the community. If you or a loved one has suffered a foot injury, do not wait. Call us today!