Most people recognize pain from spraining their ankle or bruising the ball of the foot. Everyone knows how that discomfort can make normal activities difficult. One place most people don’t expect to have serious trouble, though, is the mid-foot. However, mid-foot injuries, like Lisfranc fractures or dislocations, can cause significant damage and weaken the whole arch of your foot.
Destabilizing the Arch
Your mid-foot is the point where your tarsals join together and meet the metatarsals. This is also called your Lisfranc joint. This creates the middle section of your arch and allows your bodyweight to distribute forward to the forefoot evenly. These bones are held in place and stabilized by many different ligaments. However, there aren’t any ligaments that connect the first and second metatarsals together. A sharp twist or downward pressure can dislocate or fracture these bones at that point in your mid-foot, creating what is known as a Lisfranc injury.
This injury can be fairly serious. A dislocation—and sometimes even a fracture—may not show up on basic X-rays. This can cause the problem to go unnoticed, allowing it to worsen. The condition causes pain, swelling, and weakness throughout the foot. The discomfort will increase when you put pressure on the affected limb. If the damage is serious enough, you may or may not be able to put weight on it at all. Often there is bruising around the arch. Sometimes the foot may seem to widen and flatten.
Treating the Problem
A Lisfranc issue can significantly impair your mobility and does not usually heal on its own. The condition can resemble other problems, too, so a thorough examination is needed to accurately diagnose and treat it. Our experts at Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona will use tests and diagnostic images to evaluate the damage to your feet. Then we can determine what treatment will work best for your lower limbs.
Conservative therapy can be successful for simple mid-foot injuries. Your foot will be in a non-weight bearing cast for several weeks, to allow the bones and supporting soft tissues plenty of time to heal. Icing and elevating the foot will help decrease the pain and swelling in the arch. We may also suggest anti-inflammatory medicines. Once the supporting tissues have mostly healed, you’ll be able to begin putting weight on the foot. You’ll need physical therapy to help restore the limb to full strength and prevent re-injury.
If the bones are broken or badly dislocated, however, conservative therapy may not be enough. Surgery may be needed to help realign the bones. Sometimes the tarsals and metatarsals may even need to be pinned or screwed into the correct position. If the damage is too significant, the bones may have to be fused to prevent complications later.
Getting Expert Help
Managing mid-foot injuries like a Lisfranc dislocation or fracture is important. The arch is vital for your ability to absorb shock and distribute weight. If you’ve injured your foot and are struggling with the pain, don’t wait for it to worsen to seek help. Contact Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona in Chandler and Gilbert, AZ as soon as possible. You can call, fax, or send a request online to reach us. To contact the Chandler office, call (480) 963-9000 or fax (480) 963-0375; to reach the Gilbert location, call (480) 981-1800 or fax (480) 981-0229.