Is full recovery possibe from a lisfranc fracture? | Injuries, Fractures and Burns discussions | Body & Health Conditions center (2023)

By sadmelissa171163 | 206 posts, last post over 2 months ago


Hi there, HELP PLEASE I have been reading all of these posts and am becoming more and more scared of the after effects of my lisfranc fracture. I was in a very bad car accident 2 weeks ago and had emergency surgery. My fracture was caused by the severe impact of my foot being braced (I assume) on the dead pedal or possibly on the clutch. My surgeon is terrible at giving me any information and he has no bedside manner at all. I have read posts here about how far (in mm's) people have dislocated their joints and when I saw my x-rays my 2nd & 3rd metatarsals were sticking up in the air so my doctor said that my joints were "non-existant". I am also very scared of compartment syndrome and I am hoping that I do not have that. I have some questions that I hope you can answer for me.
- Is arthritis pretty much a given?
- Does fusion lessen pain or the chances of re-injury?
- Can I be pain free without fusion?
- Is a burning sensation normal where the screws are and/or all over the top of the foot?
- How long, realistically, does it take to become weight bearing (I'm 130lbs, 5'5, female)
- Will I be able to walk barefoot?
- Does anyone have a positive story? I am desperate for a positive story.
Thank you for any help.


April O.168888

-Joint damage can cause irregularities in the normal smooth joint surface. Previous major injuries can be part of the cause of arthritis. People who experience a joint infection, multiple episodes of gout, or other medical conditions, can develop arthritis of the joint.
-It does not guarantee freedom from pain as any pain not directly due to the compressed nerves will remain.
-Ask it to your surgeon (find another one) it depends on gravity of your injury
- Recovery from surgery to fix a Lisfranc fracture can vary depending on the severity of the original injury and the stability of the fixation. For most Lisfranc injuries about 70% of the recovery occurs in the first 6 months, but it is often a year or more.



Thanks for the reply April, I'm not sure if this is the "success" I am looking for, but it seems like this is the reality. I guess these days I have to just be thankful for surviving my accident. I'm sure I will have lots of questions as I go through this time of recovery so I truly appreciate all of your help and hopefully I will be able to help others.



There are a lot of sucess stories out there and you need (i) the best surgeon you can find to evaluate/guide your recovery, (ii) train yourself with patience and you should not rush your recovery at any cost (give your foot enough time to get back to normal, (iii) find yourself the best physical therapyst that has experience wiht lisfranc injuries and try to listen carefully and do all exercises. A good PT should be able to get you back to normal without too, too much pain with exercises that are gradually increasing the strength applied so that you do not push the foot too, too much too quickly. Brace yourself up for a long jurney (5 months to a year - not that bad when you find yourself walking well again!!), but it is all worth it for the good results. I am takin 5 months to recover from a non-surgical injury so you can see why you need to prepare yourself and invest the time. Best of luck with your recovery.


Hi I had lisfranc injury 3 months ago along with fractured ankle. The ankle was stabilised in theatre but my surgeon who is a foot expert was keen to leave the lisfranc heal naturally. He believes that there are lots of complications with fusion etc. My seperation is 3.5mm and after reading that anything over 2mm should be operated on I was very dubious. However, it is 3 months on (I was 7wks NWB and then 4 in a aircast boot) and i have now been told the ligament is healing well. I have no pain and I can drive and walk. Uphill is a problem but this is due to my ankle at the moment. In reply to your queries then you definitely need to find someone who is an expert in this field and you need to listen to the advice 100%. I believe the most important thing is not weight bearing. Everyones injury is different though and the horror stories on here are scary. I gave up smoking, ate healthily with lots of vitamins and got some hobbies to keep
My mind active! Good luck , I hope you heal well!



I injured my foot on 8/7, was misdiagnosed as a sprain, eventually diagnosed properly and had surgery on 10/4. Was told this was on the cusp of being too late for the open reduction-internal fixation (aka ORIF), but I preferred this option over fusion as did my doctor. I had remarkably little pain post surgery-- stayed on top of meds the first two weeks to be safe and haven't needed anything since. Was on crutches with zero weight bearing from 10/4 through 11/16. On 11/17 I was cleared for full weight bearing in the boot. I started physical therapy that week, mostly focused on proximal strength and gaining range of motion in the foot and ankle. They also did soft tissue work (massage) at the beginning that really helped clear out swelling. I can currently walk around in the boot without a limp or any pain whatsoever-- got the go ahead to start swimming this week, which I hope to try on Saturday. My hardware comes out 1/19 (my doctor restricts people who play sports from being out of the boot until hardware comes out, yours may have a different take). I suspect the PT related to returning to full athletic activity will be tough but I am very much looking forward to it. Guess I look at it as a challenge... if I wasn't looking to play competitive sports, I'd be extraordinarily confident of full recovery. Even so, I'm going to do the best I can. It's a long road but the time has flown by.

btw, I'm a 37 yo male-- reasonably decent shape, but not a pro-athlete or a gym rat by any stretch. Clearly, everyone has a different experience-- the funny aside, I find myself rooting for guys who had the injury like Dwight Freeney of the Colts and I'm a Pats fan!



i suffered a lisfranc dislocation around the beginning of june of 2010. i had surgery within the week to bring the bones together. i'll admit, i didnt pay too much attention to what the doctor was telling me but it was a separation from the big toe and the toe next to it. i injured it playing football, i wore grass cleats on a turf field.

Unlike a few people, i had the screws taken out about 8 weeks after my first procedure. i was told after the screws were taken out i could start putting weight on it. so the next day, i started walking in a walking boot. it wasnt too bad considering my left foot suffered from muscle atrophy but i regained most of the muscle in about 4 weeks. i started going to the gym after the 12th week and, like an id**t, the first exercise i did was 200lbs leg presses and squats. after i left the gym, i collapse 3 times before i got home. luckily i was with 2 friends but they did get a kick out of it since i would fall out of the blue.

By november 2010, i start to play some full court basketball. i wasnt really able to push off like i did preinjury but i was able to jog. by the end of december i was somewhat able to jog a little faster and able to jump a little higher but still no where close to preinjury.

i was about 200lbs, 5'6" post surgery i ballooned to 220. im a pretty athletic guy but not so much now.



So it's me again. Just wanted to touch base and post an update. So it's more than a year now since my accident and I am still suffering quite a bit with this foot. Walking is like an epic event. Preparing myself physically to perhaps walk 1km is what my mind spends the day doing. Then, after the "walk" I'm perched on the couch with leg in the air to relive swelling and pain. Not to mention the pain meds on top of that. I don't know how some people recover well from this injury. I certainly am not. I have pain 24/7. Even in my sleep, if I stretch, I wake in pain. My life is just so totally different in so many ways. I am losing hope that fusion is not necessary. I really don't want to be NWB again and go through all the physio and everything again. I feel like I am losing the best time of my life and am stuck in this terrible nightmare. Please let me know how you all are doing now, I'd love to hear some positive recovery stories...



Hi sad Melissa,

I just found out I need to have lis franc surgery. I am educating myself on this whole thing. I see your above post. It's now over a year. Can you comment about what you think about it now? How was the recovery? Are you back to full range of motion and activity?



Hi there, Thanks for getting in touch with me.... I'm not sure which surgery you need to have, ORIF or Fusion, but I have only had ORIF at this point. I am still trying to find a surgeon that will consider Fusion. I warn you that my story is not a great one as of yet. I am suffering greatly with ORIF. My recovery has been very slow and very long. I still have terrible difficulty walking and I still do not put weight on the front of my foot. This has caused arthritis to form in many of my other foot joints. I have been told by a surgeon (saw him last week) that he doesn't think anything he could do would help me, thus my reasoning to try to find a new. more progressive doc. I am Canadian so that raises another problem. Wait times. It takes forever just to get an initial consultation and then the whole process lingers on just to find out there's no help. That's the frustrating part. I know Fusion has helped so many people with this horrible injury so if you were to ask me what I would suggest, I would go straight to Fusion - skip ORIF. I would say that I am at about 40% capacity at this point, and that's being quite generous. I used to love to walk, hike, cycle, camp, travel, etc. Now everything is so difficult and disrupted. I certainly do not have full range of motion and my pain is immense. I take many medications for pain and I am very unhappy. I'm sorry if this sounds negative but I think it's important that people like you are educated before going under the knife. However, having said that I recommend Fusion, I don't know the severity of your injury. Maybe you could discuss both options (Fusion and ORIF) with your doc and see what he thinks. There is better prognosis for Fusion than ORIF from what I have read in medical journals and here on line. I am always on this forum and I am keeping my progress updated so let me know what you decide. I am very sorry to hear that you are going through this as well but keep in mind that whatever route you take will result in a very long arduous recovery and you may always have some trouble with your foot....I feel very sad for you. :(



I'm almost 5 months post op.. 5mm displacement..3 screws.. screws came out after 4months.. and my foot feels pretty good.. i have a little soreness after a lot of walking but the stength and mobility is good.. there is hope!

dr. jeng at mercy hospitalin baltimore is the man if you're near there..

good luck..



Hi my injury was in oct 2011 I now have almost no after effects except the odd bit off stiffness when I've done a lot of exercise or it's really cold, I think I've been really lucky. As I said before finding a good surgeon is key. Good luck with the progress.



Hi there I'm in London and found sadmelissa's post whilst searching for information on aftereffects post lisfranc. My injury was in August 2010. The first operation to fix the bones under x-ray conditions failed so I had to go under the knife 4 weeks after the accident and the foot was set with pins, which were removed after 3 months. The initial recovery is time consuming and it's so hard being helpless, but I was walking without crutches by April 2011...and still have great biceps and triceps from months on crutches! The main issues have been that the foot is a different shape now so pretty shoes are a no no, I can't grip haviainas/flip flops or slip on shoes like pumps on my feet so need straps/supportive shoes. I went back packing around Argentina in October (14mths) post trauma thanks to great hiking boots, but there is only a limited distance I can walk before the foot will start to swell. I have started to run again, but same thing. When I go to yoga there are some movements I can't do with my foot, and I won't jump on it. Walking barefoot is always hard especially first thing in the morning. Overall there are good days and bad days but I'm just happy to be reasonably active now. So, there is hope.....but in the last few days I have started to experience excruciating pain in the foot again and it is red and swollen.....will go to the doctor to check it out but have a nasty feeling that this is arthritis. I guess we will all be impacted by these injuries for life but I hope this pain subsides as quickly as it came because life is too short and I have spent a lot of time with this foot elevated in the last 20mths!

sadmelissa get a second opinion if you are still struggling so much.....your foot will never be what it was before but it should be better than yours seems. MY whole foot snapped in half, a level of injury that concerned the surgeons, so I generally consider myself fairly lucky to be as active as I have been....until the last few days. I wonder whether its being affected by the torrential rain we are getting at the moment?



Hi Melissa, I've got the "dislocation" Lisfranc fracture of my left foot. It's been 2 1/2 years now for me, my 1st and second joints were fused together as well as 4 screws holding my bones and joints in place. As well as yourself, I've been asking the same questions. I already have arthritis in my foot, can't put any weight on the mid section of my foot, can't bend my toes, barely move my big toe. As long as your injury was diagnosed early (mine wasn't diagnosed until 3 months into it). You have a fighting chance. I already feel very bad for you. Keep up the fighting spirit and do EVERYTHING you can to keep your foot is SO important. You can email me with any questions you have and I'll do my best to answer them. I know EXACTLY what you're going through.***this post is edited by moderator *** ***private e-mails not allowed*** Please read our Terms of Use



Hello Bo_Jay and Lew. I have undergone fusion surgery just a little more than three weeks ago after trying to live with my foot for the past 18 months the way it was. Obviously I was kidding myself. The fusion surgery went very well according to my surgeon but I now have the same arduous 3 months of non weight bearing to face before I will know if everything turned out ok. So far the most difficult things to deal with have been the pain associated with the surgery itself, not being able to "walk", and (this may be specific to me) I have developed or re-developed severe Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in both hands due to using a walker to get around. I wish I could use crutches but I can't. My hands are what is scaring me most at this point. They are numb and prickly 24hrs a day but worse at night. They cramp up and have shooting, burning pains that are unrelenting. I have tried wrist guards, asked my doc about cortisone injections, started exercising, but have finally gone to a Chiropractor for help. I have faith that this fusion surgery will go well, I have to. I really feel like this whole accident and foot is taking over my life. I really would just like to get on with it. Glad to hear Bo_Jay that you are doing well with your injury, but Lew, I am so sad to hear that you are not. Are there any more options for you? My message to anyone out there with this injury is to forgo the ORIF if it is presented to you and go straight for the fusion. Most ORIF's end up with fusion anyway so why waste time. Good luck to you both and keep in touch. I will for sure.



What is full recovery from Lisfranc? ›

The initial recovery after Lisfranc surgery includes six weeks of no weight-bearing, followed by three months of protected weight-bearing. The foot will be in a cast or a boot, and patients can use a scooter or crutches to keep weight off it. In most cases, the hardware will be removed 4-6 months after surgery.

What are the long term effects of Lisfranc injury? ›

Lisfranc joint injuries often cause arthritis in the injured bones of your foot. This might cause chronic pain in the region. You are more likely to develop arthritis if you had a severe Lisfranc joint injury that damaged much of the cartilage in the region.

Is a Lisfranc injury a disability? ›

Because the Lisfranc joint is important in walking and bearing weight, Lisfranc injuries are usually severe and complex, and have the potential for lasting disability.

Can you fully recover from a Lisfranc fracture? ›

It can take months to heal fully. Lisfranc injury treatment depends on the type and severity of the damage. In some cases, rest can help heal a sprain. Lisfranc surgery is common for fractures, breaks, or dislocations.

How long does it take to walk normally after Lisfranc surgery? ›

Patients are to remain non-weightbearing for the first 3 weeks after surgery. increase activities including impact and return to sports.

How long does it take to fully recover from Lisfranc surgery? ›

Lisfranc Surgery Recovery Time & Rehabilitation

For those experiencing strains or sprains, recovery could take six to eight weeks. For those needing surgery, recovery will likely take three to five months.

Do Lisfranc injuries linger? ›

LisFranc injuries can have long term effects on your foot. Some people are able to get back to the activity level they had before the injury. However, it is common to have some persistent pain, stiffness, and weakness. This can happen even after a surgery and healing period that goes perfectly.

How painful is a Lisfranc tear? ›

Bruising on the bottom of the foot is highly suggestive of a Lisfranc injury. There may be pain in the midfoot that worsens with standing, walking, or attempting to push off on the affected foot. The pain can be so severe that weightbearing is not possible, and crutches may be required.

How do I strengthen my feet after Lisfranc injury? ›

Simply stand about 3 feet from a wall, place both hands on the wall and leave the foot to be stretched behind you with your heel on the ground. Lean towards the wall until you feel a stretch in your calf. Hold the stretched position for 20 to 30 seconds, and then relax. Repeat 3 to 5 times.

Do you need physical therapy after Lisfranc surgery? ›

After six to eight weeks of healing, your healthcare provider will most likely remove the cast from your foot, and you can start physical therapy to rehabilitate your foot and ankle. Your healthcare provider may prescribe an ankle or foot brace for you to wear for a few weeks.

Is a calcaneus fracture permanent disability? ›

Calcaneal fractures are relatively uncommon, comprising 1 to 2 percent of all fractures, but important because they can lead to long-term disability.

Is Lisfranc rare? ›

Injury to the tarsometatarsal joint, commonly referred as the Lisfranc joint, is a relatively rare occurrence.

What is the prognosis of Lisfranc injury? ›

Some milder Lisfranc injuries can heal on their own in one to two month if the immobilize and rehab properly. More serious Lisfranc injuries require surgery and can typically take nine to 12 months to heal.

When can you drive after Lisfranc injury? ›

Patients having had the left foot operated on will be able to drive an automatic car within 2-3 weeks (short distances only to avoid swelling). Those who have had an operation on the right side will be able to drive after about 8-10 weeks.

When do you remove Lisfranc screws? ›

  1. SCREW REMOVAL / TIMING: ~ 12 - 16 weeks, 4-9 months.
  2. • FIBROUS ANKYLOSIS (if screws left in)
  3. • Risk late displacement @ 9-12 MONTHS.

What is the success rate of Lisfranc surgery? ›

90% were fully weight bearing with minimal discomfort after 6months. In 12 months all of them returned to their normal daily life activities.

Will Lisfranc injury show up on MRI? ›

If the Lisfranc ligament and the interosseous C1-C2 ligament are torn, longitudinal instability of the Lisfranc joint will occur. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an excellent tool to assess soft tissue injury and is known to be useful to evaluate Lisfranc ligament injury.

What bones are broken in a Lisfranc fracture? ›

A Lisfranc fracture occurs when there are either torn ligaments or broken bones in the midfoot area of one or both feet. The midfoot is the area of your foot that makes up the arch, where the forefoot (bones of the toes) and hindfoot (bones including the ankle and heel bone) connect.

Can a Lisfranc injury cause nerve damage? ›

Treating a Lisfranc injury or fracture can have several risks: Nerve damage: There's a chance the nerves in your foot are temporarily or permanently damaged, especially if you have surgery. Arthritis: People who have had Lisfranc injuries or fractures commonly develop arthritis in the injured Lisfranc joint.

How long will my foot be swollen after Lisfranc surgery? ›

Initially the foot will be very swollen and needs elevating. The swelling will disperse over the following weeks & months but will still be apparent at 6-9 months.

How painful is Lisfranc surgery? ›

It is normal to experience mild to moderate pain, numbness, or tingling for the first 2 weeks following surgery. Please come to the emergency department if you are suffering from severe pain. You will get back to most of your activities by 3-6 months. Swelling often remains for 6-12 months.

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