The Lisfranc Injury: It’s Complicated

Jacques Lisfranc de St. Martin was a well-known 18th-century surgeon. These days, at least among podiatry specialists like us at Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland, his name only comes up when we’re talking about a specific area of the midfoot: the Lisfranc joint complex. An injury to the foot in the Lisfranc complex is, well, complicated. A Lisfranc injury can be difficult to diagnose, may take a long time to heal, and often requires surgery.

What’s so complicated?

The Lisfranc complex is the area that connects your midfoot to your forefoot. Several small ligaments connect the five small bones in the midfoot to the five long bones (metatarsals) that extend to your toes. If enough damage occurs to these small bones and ligaments that are literally keeping your midfoot together, bones can shift out of place and you lose the stability of your entire midfoot.

How to treat a Lisfranc injury

If you’ve injured your midfoot and experience symptoms like swelling and bruising on the top and bottom of your foot and difficulty walking, contact us as soon as possible. Our expert podiatrists, Dr. Craig B. Frey and Dr. Megan L. Oltmann, will probably want to do some imaging tests such as x-rays, an MRI, or CT scan to determine the extent of the damage. A minor injury may require nothing more than rest, a walking boot, or crutches for several weeks. A severely unstable joint will probably need surgery to pin bones back into place.

How not to treat it

Consider the case of Cam Newton, star quarterback of the Carolina Panthers. He injured his midfoot last August, rested for a few weeks, and went back onto the field knowing that something in his foot was way off. As he only recently admitted, Cam downplayed his injury and played through the pain, not wanting to disappoint his teammates. He played on an unstable foot and could very well be out of commission for the rest of the season.

Expert podiatrists Dr. Craig B. Frey and Dr. Megan L. Oltmann don’t want you to fall into this trap. Plowing through pain is never a good idea, especially if you’ve got a potentially devastating Lisfranc injury. For a positive outcome from sports injuries of the foot, call us at (440) 903-1041 or make an appointment online. We’re pleased to welcome patients from throughout Geauga, Cuyahoga, Summit, and Portage counties to our state-of-the-art podiatry office in Solon, Ohio.