You’re an avid runner, out a minimum of 5 days a week, rain or shine. Lately, however, you have been experiencing pain in the middle of your foot. There’s been some swelling in the area and now you notice bruising on your arch. These may be indicators of a Lisfranc injury; a condition we at Central Jersey Ankle & Foot Care Specialists find is unfamiliar to many of our patients.
What is a Lisfranc Injury?
Your Lisfranc joint is located right where the bones in the arch of your foot (tarsal bones) meet the long bones that stretch up to your toes (metatarsal bones). Your Lisfranc ligament is a strong band of tissue joining two of these bones. When this area of the foot is injured, pain and discomfort occur. Lisfranc injuries can be caused by overuse, as in the case of athletes, particularly those involved in sports that stress the midfoot such as horseback riders and football players. A Lisfranc injury can also be the result of a car accident, something heavy falling on your foot or something as simple as miss-stepping off a curb.
Types of Injuries
Lisfranc injuries fall into three categories:
- Fractures—one or more of the bones in the Lisfranc joint breaks or an avulsion fracture where a small piece of bone is pulled off, usually do to a twisting injury, occurs.
- Dislocations—a force exerted on the midfoot forces the bones in the Lisfranc joint out of their correct position.
- Sprains—overstretching the Lisfranc ligament and surrounding ligaments in the midfoot area causes instability in the joint.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Our board certified foot and ankle surgeons, Dr. Christopher J. Mullin, Dr. Jessica A. Addeo or Dr. Rajan Patel, will need to carefully and thoroughly examine your foot. Lisfranc injuries often appear as ankle sprains and a correct diagnosis is obviously very important for treatment. X-rays (which can be done right in our Aberdeen office) may be needed and possibly other imaging studies as well. The foot doctor may even need to put you under anesthesia to do an additional examination of the midfoot joints and ligaments.