Inside The Bills

The nature of a lisfranc foot injury

Posted by Chris Brown on November 5, 2008 – 2:50 pm

With an Associated Press report out now that Aaron Schobel may have a Lis Franc foot injury, I thought I’d provide a little info on just what that entails courtesy of It should be noted that the team has not and does not confirm the specific nature of player injuries including Schobel’s.

The Lisfranc joint is the point at which the long bones that lead up to the toes and the bones in the arch connect. The Lisfranc ligament is a tough band of tissue that joins two of these bones. It is important for maintaining proper alignment and strength of this joint.

Lisfranc injuries occur as a result of direct or indirect forces to the foot. A direct force often involves something heavy falling on the foot. Indirect force commonly involves twisting the foot. This can happen, for example, when the foot catches on a stirrup while falling from a horse.
Types of Lisfranc Injuries
There are three types of Lisfranc injuries, which sometimes occur together:

Sprains. The Lisfranc ligament, as well as other ligaments on the bottom of the midfoot, are stronger than the ligaments on the top of the midfoot. Therefore, when they are weakened through a sprain (a stretching of the ligament), patients experience instability of the joint in the middle of the foot.

Fractures. A break in a bone in the Lisfranc joint can be either an avulsion fracture (a small piece of bone is pulled off) or a break through the bone or bones of the midfoot.

Dislocations. The bones of the Lisfranc joint may be forced from their normal positions.
Treatment may include one or more of the following, depending on the type and severity of the Lisfranc injury:


Oral medications.

Ice and elevation.

Physical therapy.

Surgery. Certain types of Lisfranc injuries require surgery. The foot and ankle surgeon will determine the type of procedure that is best suited to the individual patient. Some injuries of this type may require emergency surgery.

As far as how long it takes to recover from such an injury it often depends on the severity. Naturally if surgery is required it takes a lot longer, usually up to nine months before an NFL player is back on the field. The good news is that players don’t lose any speed or quickness coming off an injury of this nature as evidenced by Dwight Freeney’s recovery in Indy.

With Freeney, however, they knew right away it was a break and that it required surgery. He had surgery in mid-November last year and was back up to full speed by the middle of training camp this past summer.

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