Lisfranc Injury: Surgery, Treatment & Recovery Time (2024)

Not every foot injury is easy to diagnose. Many injuries associated with the foot can be complex. Some will need extensive examination and treatment. If you’re suffering from a foot injury, you might have a Lisfranc foot injury.

Healthcare professionals often miss these rare injuries. That’s why it’s best to do your research on the topic. This article will discuss what a Lisfranc foot injury is, its causes, and the treatment options. We will also look at the estimated recovery time.

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    Where is the Lisfranc joint?

    A Lisfranc joint is the point where the long bones and bones in the arch of a person’s foot connect. The long bones are the bones that end at the point of your toes.

    The Lisfranc itself is a ligament. This ligament is a hardy strip of tissue that joins these bones together. Your Lisfranc ligament, along with your Lisfranc joint, are crucial. They ensure your foot maintains its strength and stays in proper alignment.

    What Is A Lisfranc Foot Injury?

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    If a doctor says that you have a Lisfranc foot injury, he means that you have hurt the Lisfranc joint. Yet, the doctor could also mean that you have injured the Lisfranc ligament in the middle of your foot. Essentially this type of injury is located around the arch of your foot which is the point of joining.

    When it comes to Lisfranc injuries, there are three different types. Namely, these types are sprains, discolorations, and fractures. Yet, it’s important to note that a Lisfranc foot injury could often be an amalgamation of these three types. Additionally, it could also affect other anatomical parts in your foot.

    An injury to your Lisfranc joint or ligament is serious, which is why it needs to be diagnosed promptly. If you don’t seek proper treatment, this type of injury could negatively affect how you run, walk, and stand.

    Is A Lisfranc Foot Injury Rare?

    It’s likely that before reading this article, you were not aware of what a Lisfranc injury was. This is because Lisfranc injuries are relatively rare. According to health care experts, Lisfranc injuries only affect every 1 in 55,000 to 60,000 globally each year.

    Additionally, approximately 30 percent of Lisfranc injuries are missed by healthcare providers. Moreover, these injuries are commonly missed at an initial consultation. Often those who aren’t foot and ankle specialists miss this type of injury. This can have severe repercussions and long-term implications. Some of these implications include foot deformities, osteoarthritis, and chronic pain. That’s why you must seek out a healthcare specialist if you believe you are suffering from this type of injury.

    Currently, trying to diagnose a Lisfranc injury can be tricky. This is because the signs of injury are very subtle during examination and imagining. Yet, in recent years Lisfranc injury diagnosis practices have been receiving in-depth study. Foot and ankle specialists are looking at ways to diagnose this type of foot injury better. Many believe that they have been making progress.

    What Causes A Lisfranc Foot Injury?

    Now that we know what a Lisfranc foot injury is, we can look at what cause a Lisfranc foot injury. Lisfranc foot injuries can occur with motor vehicle accident victims. This injury is clear to see when a foot was caught in a floorboard. A Lisfranc foot injury is also more frequent amongst athletes. Often when an athlete plants their foot and twists it, they sustain a Lisfranc foot injury.

    Lisfranc foot injury can happen to anyone. Many people have sustained a Lisfranc foot injury from missing a step when walking. Others have developed this injury from having a minor slip and fall accident. Moreover, this type of injury also occurs when your foot sustains a direct trauma injury. Often a direct trauma involves a heavy thing falling on your foot.

    The Diagnosis Of A Lisfranc Foot Injury

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    In some instances, Lisfranc injuries are mistaken for ankle sprains. That is why the diagnosis process is vital. Before an accurate diagnosis can be given, a foot and ankle specialist will conduct an exam. They will also ask a series of questions. Usually, they will ask you how you hurt your foot and when you hurt it. After you have answered the doctor, they will examine your foot and see how severe the injury is.

    To properly determine if you have a Lisfranc foot injury, it is likely that you will need to go for imaging studies. An unweighted specialized X-ray will show your practitioner if you have a midfoot dislocation. It will also let them know if you broke the bone. Moreover, it will also show if you tore your Lisfranc ligament or if there is a rupture.

    Additionally, you might have to have an examination by a surgeon. They will examine you while you are under anesthesia. This is because a surgeon may want to diagnose the best course of action during surgery.

    The Symptoms Associated With A Lisfranc Foot Injury

    The symptoms of a Lisfranc foot injury can be challenging to determine. This is because what you feel will depend on how severe the injury is. A few people feel the same pain level as they would with an ankle sprain. Yet, others feel debilitating pain. Below are the common symptoms seen by those experiencing a Lisfranc foot injury.

    • Swelling of the entire foot or around the arch of a foot.
    • Minor to significant bruising and discoloration at the bottom of a foot.
    • When a foot widens unnaturally.
    • Bruising found at the arch of a foot.
    • Blisters found at the arch of feet.
    • Minor to intense pain felt when weight is put on a foot.
    • When a foot is not able to bear a person’s weight.

    Treatment ( Surgical Vs. Non-Surgical )

    Ultimately, the type of treatment you receive for your Lisfranc foot injury will depend on how severe it is. There are non-surgical treatment options and surgical treatment options. The latter is more common. It’s essential to be aware of both treatment options. That way, you can determine the best course of action.


    If you have not broken a bone or torn your Lisfranc ligament, you likely have a minor injury. In this case, you probably won’t need surgical intervention. The treatment procedures for a slight Lisfranc foot injury is like how a doctor would tell you to treat a sprain.

    Lisfranc Injury: Surgery, Treatment & Recovery Time (3)Lisfranc Injury: Surgery, Treatment & Recovery Time (4)

    Ice Pack for Slipped Disc

    If you have not broken a bone or torn your Lisfranc ligament, you likely have a minor injury. In this case, you probably won’t need surgical intervention. The treatment procedures for a slight Lisfranc foot injury is like how a doctor would tell you to treat a sprain.

    You will likely need to follow the RICE treatment method. This method involves resting, icing, and elevating one’s foot. Following this treatment method will reduce swelling around the midfoot and the pain. Your injury will also heal faster.

    Sometimes the RICE method does not work on its own. For pain management, some people need to use pain medication. Those with a Lisfranc foot injury should consider using anti-inflammatory medicines.

    Additionally, those with a minor Lisfranc foot injury might need to keep weight off the injury. Usually, you will need to keep your weight off the hurt foot for 6 weeks while your Lisfranc foot injury heals. If you need to keep your weight off your foot, you should consider using a mobility aid. For example, crutches. They will help you heal without you re-injuring your foot.

    Moreover, the final stage in your non-surgical treatment plan will generally involve physiotherapy. A physical therapist will create a treatment plan to help you restore your foot’s strength.


    Do you have a dislocated or fractured Lisfranc joint or torn Lisfranc ligaments? If so, you will most likely need surgery. The surgeon’s goal will be to realign the broken or fractured bones in your foot or repair any ligament tears. You will have to undergo one of two different types of surgical treatments.

    Many healthcare experts believe fusion is the best option for long-term pain management. We have spoken of the two surgical treatments below.

    An Open Reduction Fixation Surgical Procedure

    You might need to undergo two surgeries if you need this procedure. This procedure usually involves a surgeon using permanent or temporary hardware. This hardware will keep the bones together. Some of the hardware the surgeon could use includes screws, metal plates, or fiber tape. You will need a second surgery if the surgeon uses temporary hardware.

    A Fusion Surgical Procedure

    A fusion surgery will use medical hardware that is permanent. When you undergo a fusion surgery procedure, the bones in the arch of your foot will be made into a solid piece. This will be done by fusing or welding them into place.

    Recovery Time And Rehabilitative Time

    The approximate length of the recovery time, and what rehabilitative methods will you need if you have a Lisfranc foot injury? The answer will ultimately be conditional to the severity of your Lisfranc injury.

    If you have a minor Lisfranc foot injury, it usually takes around six months to properly heal. In contrast, a Lisfranc injury that needs surgery will need a recovery time of a minimum of three months to approximately five months.

    Lisfranc injuries will need the RICE rehabilitative method, along with a weight-bearing reduction. Those suffering this injury type should also not engage in any high-impact tasks and ventures.

    Walking With A Lisfranc Foot Injury

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    Do you have a Lisfranc foot injury? If so, you need to alter how you walk. This might seem to be a drastic measure, but it’s crucial to your recovery.

    Usually, your doctor will tell you to keep weight off your hurt foot for about a month. In theory, this sounds easy, but for those who are active, it can be quite difficult. Fortunately, there are several mobility aids available. These will assist you with changing how you walk to optimize your recovery.

    • Traditional adjustable crutches
    • Hands-free mobility crutches
    • Knee walkers
    • Knee scooters
    • Wheelchairs
    • Powerchairs

    Final Words

    Now that you know what a Lisfranc injury is, you will better understand if you are suffering from one. These injuries are relatively rare. With this being the case, you need to ensure you visit a doctor who specializes in foot injuries. If a Lisfranc injury is not treated, it can have devastating long-term health effects.

    With the right treatment plan and mobility aid, you can recover in a matter of months. Try to learn the causes, symptoms, and treatment options available for Lisfranc injuries. If you understand them, you will be better prepared should you ever suffer this type of injury.

    Lisfranc Injury: Surgery, Treatment & Recovery Time (2024)


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

    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.

    Can you fully recover from a Lisfranc injury? ›

    How long does a Lisfranc injury take to heal? Healing time depends on the severity of your fracture and which treatments you needed. It can take anywhere from a few months to more than a year to recover fully.

    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.

    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.

    What are the long term effects of a Lisfranc fracture? ›

    What are possible complications of a Lisfranc joint 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.

    How long after Lisfranc surgery can I drive? ›

    For right foot Lisfranc procedure, driving is usually started 12-16 weeks postoperatively, when safe. If the left foot is the operative one, driving may be started two to three weeks postoperative. Earlier driving may cause increased swelling in the right foot as it is in a dependent position.

    Why does Lisfranc take so long to heal? ›

    They are injuries that unfortunately take a long time to recover from because when the injury occurs in the midfoot area, basically that's the top of the arch and that's where a lot of the stress goes on a running athlete. In order to push off or power through the foot, you have to have a stable midfoot.

    How do I strengthen my feet after Lisfranc surgery? ›

    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.

    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 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 serious is a Lisfranc injury? ›

    A: A Lisfranc injury is a very serious, often season and sometimes career threatening injury. Left untreated or treated improperly, they can lead to chronic foot pain, altered gait, osteoarthritis, and long-term disability.

    Which Lisfranc ligament is the strongest? ›

    The strongest and most clinically significant ligament is the interosseous Lisfranc ligament, which transverses from the base of the second metatarsal to the plantar surface of the medial cuneiform (Figure 1).

    Can athletes recover from Lisfranc surgery? ›

    The recovery following the repair of a significant Lisfranc ligament tear is typically nine to 12 months. Basketball activities can be slowly reintroduced sooner, but playing in a live game won't come for a while.

    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.

    What NFL players have had Lisfranc surgery? ›

    Lisfranc injuries are more common in the NFL with notable players like Ben Roethlisberger, Darren McFadden, Maurice Jones-Drew, and Matt Schaub all enduring the injury on recent seasons. Recently, Carolina quarterback Matt Corral was lost for the season after sustaining the injury in a preseason contest.

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