HOW DO LISFRANC INJURIES OCCUR?
The Lisfranc joint is the point at which the metatarsal bones (long bones that lead up to the toes) and the tarsal bones (bones in the arch) connect. The Lisfranc ligament is a tough band of tissue that joins two of these bones. This is important for maintaining proper alignment and strength of the joint.
Injuries to the Lisfranc joint most commonly occur in automobile accident victims, military personnel, runners, horseback riders, football players and participants of other contact sports, or something as simple as missing a step on a staircase. Lisfranc injuries occur as a result of direct or indirect forces to the foot. A direct force often involves something heavy falling on the foot. Indirect force commonly involves twisting the foot. There are three types of Lisfranc injuries, which sometimes occur together: sprains, fractures, and dislocations.
Anyone who has symptoms of a Lisfranc injury should see a foot and ankle surgeon right away. If unable to do so immediately, it is important to stay off the injured foot, keep it elevated (at or slightly above hip level) and apply a bag of ice wrapped in a thin towel to the area every 20 minutes of each waking hour. These steps will help keep the swelling and pain under control. Treatment by the foot and ankle surgeon may include one or more of the following, depending on the type and severity of the Lisfranc injury: immobilization, oral anti-inflammatory medications, RICE, and physical therapy.
Certain types of Lisfranc injuries require surgery. The foot and ankle surgeon will determine the type of procedure that is best suited to the individual patient. Some injuries of this type may require emergency surgery. Complications can and often arise following Lisfranc injuries. A possible early complication following the injury is compartment syndrome, in which pressure builds up within the tissues of the foot, requiring immediate surgery to prevent tissue damage. Arthritis and problems with foot alignment are very likely to develop. In most cases, arthritis develops several months after a Lisfranc injury, requiring additional treatment.