Lisfranc Injury: A Common Midfoot Fracture That Disrupts Your Ability to Walk

Our feet are one of the most complex areas of the body, with each foot containing 19 muscles, 26 bones, 33 joints, and 107 ligaments. Out of the 206 bones in your body, that’s 52 bones in your feet alone. While this structure makes it easy for us to move and flex as needed, it also means that an injury to this area requires a podiatrist or foot doctor to treat due to its complex nature. When it comes to injuries of the foot, the midfoot fracture or LisFranc injury is commonly missed since it can be confused with other injuries like a simple sprain. In this article, we’re going to go over what a LisFranc injury is, how you can recognize one, what the different types are, and how it is treated.

What Is a LisFranc Injury?

Let’s first identify what exactly the LisFranc is. The foot is complex enough that podiatrists divide it into three parts for ease of conversation: The forefoot, midfoot and hindfoot. The hindfoot consists of the heel and ankle, while the forefoot is composed of your toes and the bones that support them, the metatarsals. Finally, the midfoot contains all the bones that make up the arches of your feet. The LisFranc joint refers to the collection of bones and ligaments that connect the metatarsals to the midfoot, and is located right in the middle of your foot, just in front of your ankle. With all that said, an injury in this area is referred to as a LisFranc injury, and includes damage to the bones, ligaments, or both, often coupled with damage to the surrounding cartilage.

What Are The Main Causes Behind a LisFranc Injury?

This type of injury often occurs either when something heavy is dropped on the foot or when the foot is twisted while flexed. While a relatively rare injury, podiatrists often see it in those who play contact sports like soccer or football. It is also seen in individuals like runners, military personnel, and horseback riders, due to heavy foot use or falling. However, it can also occur during low-impact missteps, such as missing a staircase or twisting too far during a fall.