What Is a Lisfranc Injury?

A lifetime of walking, running, and standing puts a lot of strain on the bones and the joints that enable full mobility. A properly functioning musculoskeletal system is a mechanical marvel that enables a full range of stable, pain-free movement. Some of the most complex and vital features of this system can be found in the feet.

The Lisfranc (midfoot) joint complex is one of the thirty-three joints in the foot. It is compromised of the bones and ligament in the center of the foot. It is stiff and doesn’t move much, providing a place for the foot to push off when walking.

The Lisfranc joint is located in the middle area of the foot where a cluster of bones create the arch of a foot. This joint complex contains a tough ligament that connects to the tarsal bones (the bones that make up the arch of the foot.)

Depending on the level of Lisfranc or midfoot injury, recovery time and methods of treatment may vary. If you believe you have injured your Lisfranc joint, seek medical help to begin the process of recovery.

What Are the Symptoms of a Lisfranc Injury?

  • Swelling: Painful swelling at the top of the foot can indicate a Lisfranc injury.
  • Bruising: While bruising along the bottom arch of the foot is one of the most common indicators of a Lisfranc injury, there might also be bruising at the top of the foot.
  • Pain: Standing might be painful or difficult with a Lisfranc injury. The pain can be so severe that putting weight on the foot is not possible.
  • Widening: In some cases, an abnormal widening of the foot might occur.

Types of Lisfranc Injury

There are three different types of Lisfranc injury, with some involving the bones contained in the Lisfranc or midfoot. It is possible to experience more than one type of Lisfranc injury at a time.

Sprain: The Lisfranc joint doesn’t connect to two of the outer metatarsal bones, making it possible to sprain the Lisfranc joint if the midsection of the foot is twisted. People who have a sprain in their Lisfranc joint will notice instability in their midfoot.

Fracture: The Lisfranc joint is fractured when one of the bones clustered within it moves outside of the joint or if one or more of the bones have a break through them.

Dislocation: A dislocation in the Lisfranc joint is characterized by one of the bones separating from the Lisfranc joint.

Lisfranc injuries are relatively uncommon, and they’re not unique to athletes. Small, seemingly mundane everyday actions can potentially result in a Lisfranc injury. While not life-threatening, a Lisfranc injury can take a heavy toll on a person’s quality of life if left untreated.

Lisfranc Injury Causes 

Lisfranc injuries are usually caused by simple accidents. They can be the result of tripping and twisting the foot or dropping a heavy object on the Lisfranc area of the foot. Knowing what caused your Lisfranc injury can help your healthcare provider understand the extent of the damage done to the Lisfranc joint.

Lisfranc Injury Recovery

The severity of a Lisfranc injury plays a significant role in treatment methods and the length of time spent recovering. If left untreated, a Lisfranc injury can lead to arthritis in the foot and limited mobility.

Diagnosis for a Lisfranc injury often involve a physical examination and manual manipulation of the foot. Your healthcare provider might also run imaging tests like X-Rays, MRIs, or CT scans.

Treatment of a Lisfranc injury changes depending on the severity of the injury. In more severe cases, a healthcare provider might recommend invasive surgery to correct damage in the Lisfranc joint. However, in most cases, a patient will only need to wear a cast or boot for 6 to 12 weeks.

Our Roseburg Orthopedists Have Extensive Experience with all Types of Musculoskeletal Injuries

If you’re a resident of the Roseburg area and you suspect you’ve suffered a Lisfranc injury, contact Centennial Orthopedic and Podiatry Clinic. Our team has years of experience treating Lisfranc fractures and other types of bone and joint injuries, especially those affecting feet.

Contact us at 541.229.2663 to schedule a consultation.