Lisfranc Injuries


Lisfranc joint injuries are the second most common foot injury in athletes, yet are often missed or misdiagnosed.¹ Lisfranc (midfoot) injuries refer to bony or ligamentous compromise of the tarsometatarsal and intercuneiform joint complex. The Lisfranc ligament connects the plantar portion of the medial cuneiform to the base of the second metatarsal.² Without proper treatment, a chronic Lisfranc injury may lead to longitudinal arch collapse, abduction of the forefoot, and midfoot arthritis.³ Physical therapy can help individuals regain functional mobility and return to sport or activities.

Mechanism of Injury

High-energy: Forced hyper-plantarflexion with a valgus/varus component. Example: Car accident, crush injury or fall from a height.


Low-energy: Forced hyper-plantarflexion of the midfoot with an axial load through the foot.  Example: Competitive sports or a ground level fall.

The midfoot injury may involve the ligament, bone, or a combination of both.

Signs and Symptoms

Bruising and swelling over the plantar surface of the midfoot, pain with palpation over the midfoot for up to five days after injury, pain with weight-bearing that is typically exacerbated with heel raises.¹

Non-operative Treatment

Stable injuries (partial sprains and extra-articular fractures) are treated non-operatively. Typically an immobilization boot is worn for up to 6 weeks, gentle range of motion exercises are performed, and weight-bearing is progressed as tolerated.² Treatment focuses on restoration of a normal gait pattern and proprioceptive training.¹

Operative Technique

Unstable or displaced injuries of the midfoot require surgical management. Open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) with transarticular screw fixation has been the gold standard. Traditional screws are typically removed at 4 months.³ However, ORIF with primary arthrodesis has become more popular as it’s been associated with a lower reoperation rate for hardware removal compared to ORIF alone.²

Post-operative management

Post-operative patients are initially placed in a non-weight bearing cast and progress to a walking boot. Full weight bearing is initiated by the 8th week postoperatively.¹ Athletes may transition from a walking boot into a stiff-soled athletic shoe with a semirigid orthotic device or an athletic shoe with a graphite insole added for stiffness.³

IMG_4988 Blog Post written by Kathleen Hank, DPT.  At the time of publishing Kathleen was in her Sports Ortho Clinical with me at Catz Physical Therapy.


  1. Lorenz DS, Beauchamp C. Functional progression and return to sport criteria for a high school football player following surgery for a Lisfranc injury. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2013;8(2):162-171.
  2. Clare MP. Lisfranc injuries. Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med. 2017;10(1):81-85. doi:10.1007/s12178-017-9387-6.
  3. Haytmanek Jr. CT, Clanton TO. Ligamentous Lisfranc injuries in the athlete. Oper Tech Sports Med. 2014;22(4):313-320.


ACL Rehab – Finding The Right Physical Therapist Matters

By Wesley Wang, DPT

In my opinion, not every physical therapist is qualified to treat ACLs from start to finish. While this statement may ruffle some feathers, let me present you with an analogy that may help put things in perspective. If your car starts having issues, do you take it to just any average mechanic or try to find the best one for your specific type of car? If you’re looking to improve your skills in a specific sport, do you hire an average coach or try to find a specific one for your specific sport? While these examples aren’t perfect, recovering from ACL surgery is a lengthy process and finding the right therapist can significantly improve outcomes.

There are many components that need to be addressed in physical therapy to ensure full recovery.  Research provides detailed guidelines on specific factors including range of motion, strength, movement assessments and return-to-sport testing which should all consistently be addressed to ensure athletes are safe to go back to sports. These seemingly minor details can significantly decrease second ACL injuries which are reported to be approximately 1 in every 4 to 5 patients. (1,3)  Coming back to the mechanic example, would you want a mechanic who wasn’t detail oriented examining your car? Would you want a coach who didn’t use the latest methods to optimize your training sessions?

The entire ACL recovery process takes approximately 9-12 months and sometimes even longer. Research tells us that nine months is the minimum recovery time after surgery and returning too early increases the risk of a second ACL injury. (2) There is simply too much to address in ACL rehabilitation and returning to sports too early is just not worth the risk.

There are two major components of ACL rehabilitation, strength and neuromuscular control. Limb asymmetries which includes range of motion and strength are pivotal for optimal recovery. One of the primary foundations of ACL rehabilitation is achieving full range of motion. For example, if the knee can’t fully extend (straighten), it makes it extremely difficult for the quadriceps to regain full strength. Obtaining greater than 90% quadricep strength and a hamstring-to-quad ratio of at least 85% (compared to the non-operated knee) have been shown to significantly decrease second ACL injuries. (1,2)

Dynamic neuromuscular control involves how the athlete is able to control their body when performing tasks such as balancing, jumping and landing. When performing these tasks, the athlete should be able to demonstrate proper control of their trunk, hips, and knee. For example, when landing on the surgical knee (once it’s safe to do so of course), there should be minimal upper body movement such as the trunk swaying from side to side or the hips twisting and minimal knee movement particularly into valgus (inward). (1,3) Return-to-sport tests identify deficiencies and one study found that successfully completing return-to-sport criteria reduces re-injuries by 32.5%. (2)

Additionally, physical therapists should have knowledge of various exercises to consistently challenge patients in their recovery process which includes both strength and dynamic control. This is a big issue in rehab as I’ve heard from many patients that they weren’t challenged in their previous physical therapy facilities and instead repetitively performed simple exercises. Athletes should be challenged in every physical therapy session or we are doing our athletes a disservice.

Finding the right physical therapist for ACL recovery is absolutely necessary to safely return to sports. The physical therapist should utilize up-to-date research and be able to properly progress and challenge patients to significantly improve outcomes following ACL surgery.

IMG_4544 Blog post written by Wesley Wang, DPT.  Wesley practices in Rockville MD at Healthy Baller Sports Medicine.  He is a go-to resource for ACL & sports rehab info, find him on Instagram @wesleywang.dpt


  1. Hewitt T, Di Stasi S, Myer G. Current Concepts for Injury Prevention in Athletes After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction. Am J Sports Med. 2013 Jan: 41(1): 216-224
  2. Grindem H, Snyder-Mackler L, Moksnes H, Engebretsen L, Risberg M. Simple decision rules can reduce reinjury risk by 84% after ACL reconstruction: the Deleware-Oslo ACL cohort study. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2016 May.
  3. Wiggins AJ,Grandhi RK, Schneider DK, Stanfiel D, Webster KE, Myer GD. Risk of Secondary Injury in Younger Athletes After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Am J Sports Med. 2016 Jul:44(7):1861-76.
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