What’s this Lisfranc Joint? And why can these injuries SO bad?

So if you’re an avid football fan like I am, you’re excited that football season has started and your late winter-spring depression of missing football is over! It’s still early into the season and the injuries are plenty, especially if you’ve been following the NFL. A lot of key players have been going down already, and may be down for a while. Now there are plenty of body parts you can injure in football. For instance, plenty of suffered from the dreaded ACL tear in the knee. Brian Cushing, star linebacker for the Texans just tore his. He’s out for the rest of the season. When it comes to the foot, this season you’ve probably heard the phrase, so and so player has suffered a “Lisfranc injury of the foot”, followed by, he will be out for “8 weeks” or maybe even “the rest of the season”. YIKES! Sounds like a bad injury, huh? That’s because they can be!


Star NFL players out this year with Lisfranc injuries

Santonio Holmes – WR New York Jets

Darren McFadden - RB Oakland Raiders

Cedric Benson  RB- Green Bay Packers

Ryan Kalil  C - Carolina Panthers


Last year Matt Schaub, QB of the Houston Texans was affected by this injury. The Lisfranc area of the foot covers the region in the middle of the foot (midfoot). The Lisfranc joint complex includes the bones and ligaments that connect the midfoot and forefoot, helping to form an arch on the top of the foot. The midfoot is critical in stabilizing the arch and in walking.  The bones are held in place by LOTS of ligaments that stretch both across and down the foot. So why’s it called Lisfranc anyway? Great question! The joint complex was named after the pioneering French gynecologist and surgeon Jacques Lisfranc de St. Martin (Born 1790 – Died 1847). This was first described by him during his time as a military surgeon in Napoleon's army around 1813 and occurred when riders fell from their horses with their feet caught in their stirrups. In more modern day sports like soccer or football, a twisting fall can break or shift (dislocate) these bones out of place.

Ok, so now that you know why it’s called that…..why are these injuries so bad?! Lisfranc injuries result if bones in the midfoot are broken or ligaments that support the midfoot are torn. Lisfranc injuries include ligament strains and tears, as well as breaks (fractures) and dislocation of bones. The extent of these injuries can vary depending on just how much damage there is. Depending on how many joints and bones in the midfoot are affected, it can be somewhat simple to very complex. A Lisfranc joint injury is not a simple sprain that can simply be shaken off.  At minimum, it requires using a walking cast boot for several weeks. With a severe injury, it can take several months to heal and may require surgery to treat.


So if you think if you’ve a sprain in the center of your foot that just isn’t healing, and it’s been a weeks of discomfort, you should probably have us evaluate it!

Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists (512) 328-8900


Dr. Craig H. Thomajan, DPM, FACFAS, FAENS
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Founder and Managing Partner of Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists
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