We talk a lot about injuries from trips and falls, running, and playing sports, but midfoot fractures can also happen from horse riding. In fact, during the Napoleonic wars, soldiers’ feet were often caught in the stirrups and damaged badly. A French field surgeon named Lisfranc identified the problem area and performed countless amputations in the joints between the metatarsals and tarsal bones—a part of the foot which now bears his name. If you injure your midfoot while riding or doing some other activity, be sure to have us check it out, as and you want to be sure you are treating the right injury.
Not All Midfoot Fractures are Lisfranc Injuries
A true Lisfranc injury involves some level of instability or displacement of the bones in the joint. If the ligaments holding the joints together are overstretched—or even partially torn—but are still able to hold the bones firmly in position, it is referred to as a midfoot sprain. This injury is usually treated with rest, immobilization, and a period of non-weight bearing, and no surgery is needed.
However, you can’t always tell from the symptoms what type of injury you have. Pain and swelling on the top of your foot that gets worse if you stand or walk on it is common with all of these injuries. The top or the bottom of the foot may also be bruised from bleeding under the skin. As soon as you are injured, start the RICE protocol (rest, icing, compression wraps and elevating the foot). If you don’t see improvement in a day or so, get help at our office.
Diagnosing Your Foot Injury
We will examine your foot carefully to check for tenderness, pain with movement or when manipulating your toes, bruising, or pain when you try to stand on tiptoe. An x-ray should be able to show any fracture in the bone as well as changes in their alignment. If any bones are out of position, ligament damage of some sort is likely.
If there is still doubt about the exact diagnosis, a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan may be done to further evaluate soft tissue injuries. If we determine that surgery is necessary, a computerized tomography scan (CT) may also be done to obtain more detailed pictures of the foot.
How Midfoot Fractures Are Treated
Since the probability of developing arthritis in the injured joints is high, many times a fracture will be treated surgically, especially if the bones have moved out of position. Your feet are too important to your health and wellness, as well as your ability to enjoy life, to risk further collapse of the foot structure and chronic instability and pain.
Surgery may involve realigning the bones and fixing them in place with plates or screws. These are often removed later, as you want the joints to have full movement later.
If the bones are severely damaged, it is possible that the joints may need to be fused together permanently to prevent pain and joint breakdown.
With surgery and proper recovery time, you will usually be able to return to full activity. However, even with an operation, you may develop arthritis because of damage to the cartilage in the joints, and may eventually need to have the joint fused.
Houston’s Podiatrist for Lisfranc Injuries
With over 40 years of experience in treating sports and other foot injuries, Dr. Robert Parker is the foot specialist you need if you injure your midfoot. Call Parker Foot & Ankle at (281) 497-2850 and our friendly staff will be happy to set up your appointment, help with paperwork, and assist in your care. You can also request your appointment right now by using our online form.