Guide to NFL Injuries: Lisfranc injury

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Lisfranc injuries are characterized when the and/ bones in the midfoot are broken or ligaments that support the midfoot are torn.

The severity of the injury can vary from simple to complex, involving many joints and bones in the midfoot. According to SportsMD, “an injury in this region of the foot can be highly debilitating for an athlete who depends on their lower extremities for so much of their athletic performance.”

Offensive linemen are particularly at risk for this injury when they are pushing forward with their heels in the air. If another player falls on the foot at that moment, the stress from the force can damage the Lisfranc joint.


Immediate onset of pain in the midfoot region. Other symptoms include tenderness and swelling at the site of injury and the top of the foot. Pain intensifies when walking or standing. Bruising is also common after suffering Lisfranc injury.


An athletic trainer may see the injury occur in real time and have an immediate suspicion for the injury. The athlete will describe the. There may be difficulty or even an inability to put weight on the injured foot. Over the course of the ensuing day, swelling and bruising often occurs that when serious may even become evident on the bottom of the foot. On a physical exam, the injured athlete will be tender over Lisfranc’s joint and any others involved in the injury.

A “piano key” test may be done. This involves moving each of the toes one by one to see if this causes pain. A physician may have a patient perform a single limb heel rise that involves standing on toes. Pain resulting from either or both of these tests is an indication of a Lisfranc fracture.


Ice and rest for minor injuries. Moresever Lisfranc injuries require a cast. However, it is a significant injury. According SportsMD, “A Lisfranc injury is a very serious, often season and sometimes career threatening injury. Untreated, a Lisfranc injury can lead to chronic, debilitating pain in the midfoot. The injury also is a cause of secondary arthritis of the involved joints which is possible even with the appropriate care (surgical or not), but is considerably higher if not treated in a timely fashion.”

In some instances, surgery may be warranted.


6-8 weeks minimum.

IMAGE CREDIT: Creative Commons

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