This is a foot injury, which though extremely rare, is most often suffered by horse riders and other Extreme Sport types e.g. mountain bikers, skiers, surfers, skateboarders, kite and wind surfers etc…
In recent years there have also been several high-profile instances of Lisfranc injuries amongst National Football League (American Football) players.
The injury is most commonly caused by the foot being trapped whilst a solid object (strap, fixings or stirrup) continues to rotate, causing the middle of the foot to shear and some or all of the five bones within the foot to dislocate and/or fracture.
The treatment of the injury has evolved significantly in recent years and the prognosis has improved hugely as a result. However the injury is virtually unique with regard to the length of time it takes to treat and recover from – around 9 to 12 months is a fairly normal timescale for a healthy, fit individual who is correctly diagnosed, and who is (fairly LOL!) sensible in following the advice of their medical team.
This long recovery period – including long stretches of both immobility and very restricted mobility – combined with the typical profile of someone who has suffered a Lisfranc, i.e.:-
- an active, physically fit individual
- who is used to taking risks
- and accustomed to ‘beating the odds’ when working through ‘normal’ injuries and pain
can lead to immense frustration and personal challenges in addition to the medical issues…
It is currently very difficult to find the right sort of information regarding the injury, such as what level of recovery can be expected and in what timescales, not least because of its rarity. The most commonly used estimates are that:-
- only 1 in more than 50,000 fractures
- and approximately 1 in 200 of those foot fractures which merit medical treatment
are Lisfranc injuries.
In addition, the medical consultants’ view of acceptable foot functionality will generally be based on ‘normal’ activities e.g. ability to once again walk on a pavement (sidewalk), or jog round a well-maintained park, rather than:-
- flying moguls at speed
- performing mid-air ‘tricks’
- or persuading half a tonne of argumentative equine to accompany you across a rutted, muddy field!!
Research amongst Lisfranc sufferers has confirmed that many express a need to share:-
- and,above all, HOPE
with others who are either:-
- currently undergoing this ‘journey’
- and/or those who have walked (ouch!!) this path before them.