A Look at Lisfranc Fractures

An injury to the bones in the middle region of your foot can be debilitating. Fortunately, this type of injury is not overly common, however, as rare as it is, there have been multiple athletes who’ve sustained a midfoot, or Lisfranc, fracture in recent years. Consequently, you may have heard the term “Lisfranc fracture” in the news. Here, we’ll explain what this midfoot injury is all about.

Foot in stir-ups

Looking Back at its Origins

The junction at which your forefoot meets the midfoot is referred to as the Lisfranc joint. It gets its name from Jacques Lisfranc de St. Martin who was a surgeon in Napoleon’s army renowned for his expertise of amputating feet at this particular junction. Injuries to this area first came to light when horsemen fell with their feet still in the stirrups. Today, this severe twisting can occur in a multitude of sports, and athletes who have had to take their place on the sidelines from the injury, have placed the injury itself in the spotlight.

A Closer Look at the Problem

A Lisfranc injury occurs when an athlete’s forefoot is planted, but his or her weight is forced in a different direction. This causes an extreme rotation at the joint between forefoot and midfoot, which can result in ligament damage as well as fractures to the connective bones -- the metatarsal bones (long bones that lead to the toes) and tarsal bones (the bones in your arch).  As you can imagine, football players are among those most at risk as they are tackled and tend to change directions quickly, but this type of injury can also occur from trauma such as an automobile accident, for instance.

Symptoms to Look For

When you sustain a midfoot fracture, it can either be an avulsion fracture, meaning a small piece of the bone has been pulled off, or a full break in the bone (or bones) that make up the Lisfranc joint. Symptoms of this injury include swelling, bruising on the arch and top of the foot, pain in the midfoot region when standing, and difficulty bearing weight. Your foot might also appear abnormally wide.

Look to Us for Treatment

Because it is often mistaken for an ankle sprain, a Lisfranc fracture should be assessed by a medical professional in order for the injury to be correctly diagnosed and properly treated. Once we determine you have indeed sustained a midfoot fracture, your foot will need to be immobilized with a cast, and you will need crutches to keep from putting weight on it. Ice, elevation, and anti-inflammatory medication will help with swelling and pain. Once these symptoms have subsided, a physical therapy regimen will be put in place to restore function, range of motion, and strength. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary. If so, we will discuss procedures with you to determine which type is best suited for you. 

If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, contact our Round Rock or Cedar Park, TX locations for more information or to schedule an appointment. You can use our online contact form or simply give us a call at (512) 593-2949. We’ll get you on your way to a full recovery!