The Backstory…

Otherwise known as “Oooooooowwwww!!!” I hope it won’t also be known as “the injury that never quits hurting.” One day I was moderately athletic,  happily jumping around on a martial arts mat, and then, suddenly, crouching on the mat trying not to pass out.  So I sat on the side with ice on my foot when I could stand it, trying not to pass out , and finally, after about 45 minutes, came to my senses and decided to go the emergency room, where I was told that it wasn’t pretty (the medical term for “wow, you really trashed your foot”) and that the staff thought that maybe a taxi ran over it. So now I am lying on the couch with my new laptop on one leg, (on a tray) and the other leg up on two cushions and a pillow. The first month I was too blotto to write, and anyway, I couldn’t get to my computer, but I will try to remember what happened… The moral: If you plan to mash your foot-don’t. If you must, be sure you have everything you need arranged in the living room where you can reach it. And finally, don’t under any circumstances, have a loft bed! Or live in a fifth-floor walkup.

I am interested in hearing from other people who had similar injuries…how are you doing now? How did you handle it? Leave a comment to help other people cope with it!

This isn’t a story of woe!

Months later, I am adding this: And by the way...this isn’t a story of woe! This is my story of how I got better. At this point, I can do almost everything I could do before the injury, so I hope it will give a note of hope to other people who were unfortunate enough to break a foot!

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53 comments so far

  1. J Doffek on

    Thank you so much for your posts. Today is day two after surgery. I just had the screw put into my foot to stabilize the ligament. I am now counting the days until I can resume normal exercise. My injury happened about 6 weeks ago. Took 3 weeks, two sets of xrays and a MRI to determine it was not all in my head.

    • fractralfoot on

      Good luck with the recovery! I have read that this injury is often misdiagnosed, and to be frank, in my case, I think it is amazing that the surgeon picked it up from my x-ray. How long are you to be off your feet? I hope is isn’t too long…

      • Jdoffek on

        Right now I am hearing one week in the bandages, two to four weeks in the fiberglass cast, and then four weeks in the boot. Seems like a long time but I know it will go fast. I am finding the crutches to be a challenge. I think it is me fear of falling over and injuring the bad foot.
        Your website has been a godsend. It has really helped me understand the path ahead and has given me goals and milestones to work for. I think the biggest challenge for me is the unknown. Thank you again. Take care and good luck to you as well. Wishing you great health in the future 🙂

      • fractralfoot on

        Sounds about right. Maybe PT to get the stiffness out of the ankle, the leg strengthened, and the nerves working again. Just take what the doctor says seriously, (keep it elevated, for instance), but ask lots of questions, because they sometimes forget to tell the patient things like,”you can take the boot off when you sleep” at the appropriate time. Crutches are more difficult than one would think if you can’t put the foot on the ground. Just remember not to take the weight in the armpits. Lots of good sites on crutch-using on the net. Good luck, again. It’s a bear, but it does go away!

  2. Grace on

    Dear fractralfoot,

    I would like to apologise in advance for the length of this comment, but I feel so relieved to find your blog that I would like to establish some sort of e-corresponence with you!

    I have been scouring the Internet for the past couple of hours looking up everything and anything about the Lisfranc fracture/dislocation injury. Indeed, I have joined the club.

    Two and a half weeks ago, I was training for a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) competition. I went for a double-leg takedown when my training partner sprawled (as he should have) and I heard a snap and pop. He is easily 40-50 lbs heavier than I am, so his weight combined with mine was too much for my left foot to handle when it got stuck between us and the mat. Roughly 3 300 Newtons of force caused my first metatarsal to displace completely from the rest of the tarsus. My orthopedic surgeon (OS), a foot and ankle specialist, said the separation was one of the worst he’d ever seen (very encouraging pre-operative message, ha).

    I had surgery two weeks ago today. No weight-bearing until this past Wednesday, when I got my stitches taken out and had a new fibreglass cast put on. It was disheartening to see the muscle atrophy in my calf. Nevertheless, my OS said I was healing well and has allowed me to bear slight wear on it with a walking shoe. I’m still hobbling round with the crutches, but being able to put even minimal weight on the left foot has decreased the frequency of cramps in my right foot, thank goodness.

    When my parents came into town to see me through the operation and initial recovery, my mother vehemently forbade me to take up BJJ again. As a fellow martial artist, I’m sure you know the joy and exhilaration of being on the mat. I first started BJJ on February 1 of this year and immediately fell in love with it. I trained five, sometimes six, times a week, often receiving private lessons from my instructors. They said I showed promise, and I was all set to compete within five months of training. I had to push back my July competitions for the sake of applying to medical school (the preparation in itself was and still is time-intensive), so I trained harder for a local competition mid-October. I was crushed when I sustained the Lisfranc injury two days before competition. Everything I had worked so hard for, for several months, disintegrated when I received the news in the ER that the “mere dislocation” was surgical.

    I’ve got a more positive outlook now, as I see more success than failure stories of recovery. But sometimes I get depressed when I think about how long it will take to get to the athletic ability I had before I was injured. Pre-Lisfranc, I regularly ran 5K races, was involved in various intramural sports, and generally led a very active lifestyle. Now I weigh myself weekly and realise it’s not fat that I’m losing but lean muscle mass that I’ve worked so hard to gain (I’ve battled body image complex and being “overweight” for several years).

    I guess what I’d like to ask you is if you’ve been back on the mat, post-operation? Though I may not train five or six days out of the week (what with medical school) after what I hope to be a full recovery, I would still like to pursue BJJ and eventually compete. What I’ve read of your blog has been entirely uplifting and encouraging, and I appreciate you for documenting your Lisfranc experience.

    Hope to hear from you soon,
    Grace

    • fractralfoot on

      Hi Grace, (I changed this entry a bit, because I always tell people who are in school that their education comes first…) what a bummer to have that injury! But in my experience, it isn’t that uncommon for someone to get injured just before a dan test or, in your case, competition. Now you will be one of the few budding doctors who know what a Lisfranc injury is! But seriously, yes, I am back on the mat, training and teaching. The foot injury really isn’t a factor in my training any more. I am also running, sort of, and I may do a 5K myself soon. In my case, the things that are holding me back are beta blockers and anastrozole, so don’t let any of my griping affect your thoughts of recovery.

      You seem to have caught the bug, so it seems likely that at some time you will get on the mat again, whether its Jiujitsu or another art. One thing to remember is that you have to start gradually. At 5 months you’re still a beginner, so you probably don’t have some of the instinctive reactions you’ll develop over time, and the fear of someone landing on your foot will probably freak you out for a while, whatever you do. However, you should always put your education first, so if you are going to medical school, you might have to put the martial art off for a while, or do one that you could practice at home and take class once a week!

      It took me a while to re-learn how to roll, because my toes were very stiff, but I did it. I presume you keep your foot off the ground when you do high falls, but you probably should get a good physical therapist’s opinion on that one.

      I’m amazed you are allowed to put any weight on the foot so soon. That may really cut down on the muscle loss. Do let us know how it goes. And to answer the question in your other post, the surgeon who worked on me said that he didn’t like taking out stuff. If I find the screw bothers me, I’ll get a second opinion, but so far it hasn’t been a problem.

      Good luck, keep in touch, there are several people who will write encouraging comment to you!
      By the way, take a look at Rebecca Wardell’s blog, if you haven’t already. She’s an Olympic athlete who is recovering from a Lisfranc injury…

      • Grace on

        Wow. That was just what I needed to hear! May I ask which martial art you practise? I meant to ask, how is your current treatment coming along?

        I believe I will be fitted for a walking boot at the end of the month, assuming the x-rays indicate continued recovery. I was surprised as well when he gave me the walking shoe, but he said my speedy recovery is a function of my age and athleticism. Now, I’m just trying to find exercises that resist muscle atrophy. Read something on cross-transference of nerve stimulation today, so I suppose I’ll try to incorporate that into my workouts…

        My OS spoke with certainty that my three screws will be removed in four-months’ time. I’m guessing they’re not made of titanium, my screws. I’m sure recovery after that surgery will be fun, too.

        Indeed, I checked some of the other links on your blog. Her journey is an amazing one. I can only hope that my recovery becomes such a great story of success. This has probably been the most humbling experience of my short life thus far, haha.

        Again, thank you for your insight!

      • fractralfoot on

        I’m not being treated for the foot at this point. I did get some trigger point exercises to do since the toes are stiffer on the left foot than on the right, and there’s some residual stiffness in both ankles, but otherwise the foot is pretty good. I basically am keeping the blog going because people are posting comments and because one of my sisters asked me to! Keep in touch and best wishes!

  3. Runnergirl :) on

    Hello! Has anyone ever had a lisfranc injury that surgery was not an option? I was in a car accident back in February…it took over 3 weeks (after an ER visit and 2 visits to my PCP) to finally get a referral to an ortho surgeon. I had multiple x-rays and then a CT scan, which showed multiple bony chips on the bottom of my foot, a fracture on the top, and a torn ligament, thus confirming the lisfranc injury.

    Due to the number of bony chips, I was told that surgery would not be beneficial. I go back on Monday to hopefully get a walking cast, but there is a knot on the top of my foot that has not gone away, which is the key for getting the cast.

    I am on a leave of absence currently from work so time can heal the foot and the fragments can fuse back together, but I am just wondering what the prognosis is if surgery is not done?

    I am currently non-weight bearing and in a boot with crutches and a knee-roller to help me get through the day.

    Thanks for having this post! Nice to know there is life after lisfranc :). Looking forward to getting back to work and running!

    • fractralfoot on

      I have read about Lisfranc injuries that didn’t result in surgery, but I don’t know if anyone posted here who didn’t require it. Let’s hope someone will respond. How long were you told the recovery period will be? And best wishes to you. Keep us informed about your recovery…Chris

  4. Sarah on

    Thank you so much for this! I am 5 days post surgery… I fell on my foot while running on ice (bad decision, lesson learned) and thought it was sprained for 2 weeks before getting a second opinion. The surgeon opened me up 3 days later and put 5 screws in my foot.

    I’m sure I’ll learn all of this as I continue to read, but what did your recovery look like?

    I’m a college student, studying outdoor leadership in the hopes of joining a wilderness therapy program. I do pretty much everything outside, so this surgery was a real bummer. I’m hoping to resume my camp counselor job in late May, but now I’m not so sure that will happen…

    • fractralfoot on

      Hi Sarah..I also love to be outdoors, so it was a relief to find that I can still hike, canoe, go out birding and mushroom hunting. I don’t technical climb, but I don’t see any reason why my foot wouldn’t let me do that, too. The recovery for Lisfranc injuries seems to vary widely; for one thing, the injury itself seems to take a lot of different forms. The first thing, then, is to listen to what your surgeon says and follow the directions for recovery and rehab.

      That being said, in my case, I was told I had to keep the foot elevated above the heart 24/7 for 10 weeks. That meant staying on the couch with my foot up. It wasn’t that hard, because whenever I lowered it, it hurt and turned purple! Except for one day when my sister rented a wheelchair and took me birding in Central Park, I pretty much only went out for doctor’s checkups. I had to go up and down 4 flights of stairs to get out, which limited my mobility!

      After 10 weeks I started physical therapy (two weeks non-weight bearing, two weeks “toe touching” and about 3 or 4 months with weight bearing) and at 11 weeks I went back to work. At that point, I was still using crutches. I was lucky in that I had enough leave time to take off from work, still have medical insurance and a job when I returned. You may find that your recovery is quicker–for one thing, you are considerably younger than I am, to say the least. My doctor was pretty conservative, too. Many people who have this injury are running around with knee walkers, for instance. One suggestion I would make is to have someone qualified give you a set of exercises you can do with the hurt leg as well as the with the other one in order to cut down on the atrophy that will develop from lack of use.

      Good luck in your recovery…take the time to do it properly, and you will thank yourself later, I think.

  5. Shannon D. on

    Happy to find your blog! My lisfranc injury was the result of a minor fall, but the fact that I was wearing boots twisted the foot in just the right way. I was misdiagnosed and ended up seeing 3 different doctors. It wasn’t until an MRI was completed 6 months later that we knew what was wrong. I had to put off the surgery for a few months due to work and then longer because I ended up pregnant (unplanned-though happy to welcome my daughter into the world). 2.5 years later I finally had the surgery done. Since mine was an older injury, they ended up putting a permanent rod in and fusing it to the bone. They ended up doing a bone graft on my heel to have bone to ensure the rod would fuse properly. I am 12 days out from surgery. I received my walking on boot on Friday (9 days post-op) and over the next 5 weeks I am to get used to walking in the boot. I am allowed to put weight on my heel. With 2 children under 3, this has been both a difficult physical and emotional process (emotional for all involved). I am thankful my husband has been able to step up and take over for now. I look forward to the future…walks, zoo trips, and activities with my kids! Thanks for your inspiring blog.

    • fractralfoot on

      Thank you for posting, and good luck with your recovery…you must be one tough cookie, because I can’t imagine going around with this injury for two and a half years!

  6. Toni Caithness on

    Ok here is my story. On 4th of July I was in auto accident. I must have braked with my left foot. Initially I thought it was just a sprain, but it progressively got worse. As others have stated a lisfranc is hard to diagnose, xrays didn’t show anything. On 7/18 after a MRI I was diagnosed with Lisfranc fracture. Surgery was on 7/30. I have spent the last two months in a non-weight bearing cast. The pain level has been pretty constant especially when I weaned myself off the pain meds.

    Today the hard cast was removed and I have a walking boot, although I am not to put more than 25-50 pounds of weight on it. I have been using a roller to get around, and now I am to use crutches. Not going to be easy because I had four falls before I gave up on crutches and started using the scooter/roller.

    My foot hurts, hurts, hurts especially during the night.

    My question is should my foot still hurt after two months?

    Toni

    • fractralfoot on

      Hi, Toni, first, best wishes for your recovery. Boy, we need a football PT person on this blog! The thing is that it seems that every Lisfranc injury is different and no one knows anything about them anyway! So, of course, the first thing is to tie your surgeon down and try to get a straight answer out of him or her! But I can tell you my experience, as much as I remember it. Here’s my post from August 2009:

      “What hurts: my knee, which is a real problem, since I am using crutches to take the weight off it, the big toe, the toes in general when I walk, and the area above the incision, mainly the first metatarsal one, and the outside of the left foot. The outside of the left leg is still numb.” (Note: the numbness was an aftereffect of the surgery. It went away eventually.)

      So I guess I was still hurting 3 months after the surgery. I do remember that the first time I tried to put weight on it, I almost went through the roof. Then the doctor gave me a script for PT: two weeks non-weight bearing, followed by two weeks toe-touch, and only then did we start with the real weight-bearing therapy. But again, ask your doctor…it could be a case of “suck it up, buttercup” or it could be a sign of a problem. Better to find out sooner than later!

  7. tcaith on

    Hi Fractural foot – I am thankful to hear from others and their experience. Nobody has talked about the little dark periods that crop up. I certainly have had my pity parties. I was lucky enough to have my sister by my side for three weeks. The toughest part especially nighttime. I was 67 years old when the accident happened. My husband of 37 years is 90 years old so I WAS his primary caregiver. Furthermore, I am a Grandmother to five young children. Yes one family: 8, 7, 5, 3yr old twins. When my sister went back home, we were struggling.

    Patience, patience. Lots of pain even at two months. Need to ask Dr. More questions. My leg is like a snake shedding it skin.

    • fractralfoot on

      I can’t believe you are doing all this with a broken foot! I have younger twin sisters, too. What a handful!

      I was also “older”, actually 65 when I had my Lisfranc episode, but fortunately, I wasn’t a caregiver for anyone in my household. On the humorous side, when I could get out of the boot I went into a hot tub, and had to get out because all the dried up skin started flaking off. It looked disgusting! But that stops pretty quickly when you start being able to scrub it again.

      If you look through the comments, you will find that several people wrote about the dark side of this injury. Everyone seems to try really hard to stay upbeat, though, partly because so much on the internet about it is so dismal. Hang on in there, there really is hope!

  8. tcaith on

    Hi – another helpful hint I received from my husband’ rehab trainer is – “you have been a very active independent person. You have been there for your husband and your grandchildren. It is time to retrain your brain to be dependent and focus on yourself and get well.”

    • fractralfoot on

      Thanks! It’s a good point…Chris

  9. Anthony on

    I was in a car accident on Christmas Eve. We hit a patch of ice, and lost control of the car, and rolled multiple times. I was an unbelted passenger in the backseat and somehow during the rolling my foot went out the window and the car rolled on top of it, and thats how I got my Lisfranc injury! Luckily other than that everyone else in the car were completely ok. Being that I live in NYC it hasn’t been easy getting around. NYC def isn’t a handicap friendly city, and being that I have no car I HAVE to walk everywhere and use the subway. Only good thing about having to walk around is that it is supplementing not going to the gym, which I used to go to 5x a week. So anyway, I have my surgery TOMORROW and am kinda freaking out from reading all the horror stories- I’m hoping everything will go well and I’ll be back to normal relatively quickly. Once they put the hard cast back on, I plan to go back to the gym hopefully and still do upper body workouts. Sucks cuz I was supposed to go to Hawaii next week 😦 instead i’ll be home in my bed.

    • fractralfoot on

      Just wishing you the best with your recovery!

  10. Toni on

    Sorry to hear about your accident and injury. I too was in an auto accident. I was driving and we got hit on drivers side at an intersection. My surgery was 7/30/12. I had hard cast for almost three months and could not put my foot on ground for 3 months. Keep your foot elevated high – that keeps swelling down. Hopefully you have a honey or wife who can help you the first month or so. After three months I was in walking boot. Compression stocking and sneakers is what I am doing now. I had PT for a month and we found walking in a pool as the best. It is about 70% of your body weight and you can ease back in to walking.

    I rented one of those rollers to get around the house the first couple of months. Google how to use crutches. It gives you helpful hints on how to manuever curbs (backwards)! I had grab bars installed in shower. Since u are a man you won’t have difficulty going to the bathroom. I bought a raised toilet seat. Really is hard to do things on one foot. Is it your right or left foot. Mine is left foot.

    Good luck tomorrow. I had a pain stint inserted in my leg and the pain startd with a vengence the second day. Take the medicine and stay ahead of it. Good Luck! My name is Toni

    • Anthony on

      Thanks for well wishes! Home from my surgery and everything went well. Doc put one screw in. Right now I feel a slight pain where the screw went in. Nothing severe just a sharpish throbbing. Nurse said pain block would last hours but think I’m going to take a Vicodin just in case. So for now just relaxing and am going to try to take a nap. Feeling very optimistic bout recovery and praying I won’t experience any of the complications alot of ppl have.

      • Anthony on

        Been a week since my surgery on my left foot. Had one screw put in. My recovery is going pretty good. I’m off pain meds, and generally have no pain. I feel a pressure where the screw is and my foot will still swell if I’m up too long. I’m almost able to move all of my toes normally, and have been doing ‘toe ups’ to try to maintain strength and flexibility. Not sure if it will help or not, but figured I’ll give it a try. This coming friday I will have the stitches taken out and will be put in a hard cast for 6wks.

        My mother came up to help me out all last week, which was SUPER helpful, and probably one of the reasons I’m healing well. I def recommend having someone around to help you cook and clean, so that all you can do is lay down and keep the foot elevated all day everyday. I go back to work tomorrow, and am not looking forward to riding the subway in crutches and walking up all the stairs and trying not to get pushed over by crowds. Luckily my job is allowing me to work a flexible schedule and work from home a couple days a week. Once I get the hard cast back on, I’m going to start going back to gym. Since I will be in a cast for a few months, I figured I’ll start getting back to normal (as much as I can on crutches!).

      • fractralfoot on

        Just a suggestion. keep it elevated as much as possible when you are home. Made a huge difference for me!

      • Sally on

        HI Anthony,
        My son 16 is going to have manipulation under anesthesia to check stability of joint tomorrow, if unstable they will insert a screw.. He was injured in a soccer game Oct 14 2012 and was diagnosed 6 weeks after injury that he had a stress fracture of 2nd met, wore a boot (walking) but they missed the lisfrancs sprain. He was walking on it in pain the joint unstable and level 10 pain when he twisted his foot.. long story 3 doctors later we have made a decision finally to hopefully fix it. He has a 1mm separation between 1st and 2nd met they are talking about 1 screw possibly to stabilize. My question is when you came home could you ice you foot at all? What elevation worked best for you in bed? I was thinking about getting a knee walker when he goes back to school. I was thinking kingsize pillows under leg. Any suggestions for the first couple days would help. Not looking forward to the long haul for him, 3 months nwb if they do the surgery. but we have been at this for months and back at square one,,, patience. thank you for your post I will post again , wish him luck
        Sally

      • Anthony on

        Hi Sally. Sorry to hear about your son’s injury. I wish him a speedy recovery. It’s been a month since my surgery, and I JUST got back from the doctor. He took the cast off and examined the foot. Barely a scar left! I was surprised because I was expecting to have a scar forever. He squeezed parts of the foot, and no pain, a little tenderness, but def no sharp shooting pains or anything major, I was hoping to be placed in a boot, but he wants to keep the cast on for 2 more weeks to be safe, then I will be in a boot and able to put weight on it. Doc said that eventually because I’m active, the screw will come out. I feel like I will be 100% back to normal after all is said and done.

        As for your questions, after surgery, he def needs to just rest and keep the foot elevated basically 24hrs a day for the first week at least. I tried different pillows and for me, firm pillows were most comfortable (i used couch pillows). Even a month later I will still sleep w/it elevated. I don’t think I need to, but with a cast its just more comfortable. I kept my foot elevated (above the heart) at a comfortable level.

        First couple of days, he should def just chill in the bed, get up only to use the bathroom. As everyone else said, stay ahead of the pain! I didn’t really feel any pain because I was popping pain pills every 5hrs or so.

        By the 2nd week the pain is basically gone, still a little soreness, and the nerves in your foot are rewiring around the wire ( i guess ) so you will get SUPER sharp pains, esp at night, but only lasts a couple of days. By this point he will prob be sick of being in bed and will want to move around, I think it’s ok, so long he is keeping foot elevated.

        By week 3 i started going back to work (via the subway) and started going back to the gym to workout upper body.

        So my best suggestions is to keep it elevated, keep ahead of the pain (don’t get addicted to pain pills, i only used them for one week, then you don’t really need them at all), DON’T PUT ANY PRESSURE ON THE FOOT at all until doc says you can. I’m tempted to step on it now, but don’t want to cause any damage. Also after the first week he should start to wiggle his toes, you don’t want to loose too much strength. don’t push it, just try to wiggle them more and more each day. Also buy a shower bag for the foot! sooo much easier to take a shower rather than using trash bags. As for the crutches, he will get used to them after first like 2 weeks.

        Let me know if you have any questions and good luck w/surgery!!

      • Kim on

        I hope you have fully recovered and are backing to doing everything you love. This is way past your post, but you are they only one who has ever mentioned these super sharp shooting pains/cramps. What are they? I have had them both pre and post op 4 weeks since injury 6 days post op.

      • fractralfoot on

        Sorry to take so long to appro e this. I don’t actually remember the cramps, but when I get Internet back (temporary service interruption I will look up the post and try to remember. But whatever they were, they went away!

  11. Toni on

    Sally – I had surgery for 2mm lisfranc and went thru 3 months nwb. Used scooter. Install grab bars in shower, and bathroom.

    I used foam pillows system from the mattress back store. I think it is four pieces. It saved my life. 3 months with my foot elevated. Elevationis the key. My sister added pillows to the foam. Sleeping on the back is hard so the back store system helped. Also, i had all my electronics around me. Ipad, computer. I can’t imagine an active 16 year old confined. My silver lining was I learned to sketch and that lead to water colors and now I do acrylic painting. I still have swelling if I am on the foot longer than 4 hours. Call me & I will share more tricks. 972-689-8408

    Also google – how to use crutches. Ask doc about giving rx for inhouse rehab to learn proper use of equipment. I got help a little late, but they taught me how to back into shower with crutches.

    Toni

    • Kat on

      Hi, my 15 year old just had sugery approx 2 weeks ago to repair a Lisfranc tear after breaking a few bones in his foot. The Lisfrac was repaired with an arthrex suture bridge. He was blessed in the fact that he’s had very little pain since surgery: first couple of days only. However, I’m concerned. He’s non weight bearing, although he uses crutches and a wheelchair to get around. When he’s up and about on his crutches, he gets some pins and needles and his leg turns a deep red/purple color up to his knee. Is this typcial: it’s been 5 weeks since his initial injury. Any suggestions on things to help with this?

      The Lisfrac injury was missed at a Children’s Hospital, but picked up when we got a second opinion through the adult sector. Can anyone tell me what the typical recovery plan is after surgery. We have 2 different schools of thought. The 1st is from the Children’s sector: put him in a cast that can get wet (approx 4-6 weeks) so he can swim and utalize his muscles, but keep the foot immobile. The 2nd is from the adult sector: put him in a walking boot (to the knee for 4 weeks) and start physio working on mobilizing the toes and ankle after 2 weeks. Currently, he is in the walking boot to his knee (his heal keeps moving up) and due to start physio soon, as he had surgery in the adult sector.

      My son is an elite athlete in great shape. I want to try and do everything I can to support and give him the best opportunity to heal and get back to being a kid that loves sports. I’m trying to help him avoid secondary injuries to his knees, shoulders and hands: using the crutches and pillows to put his leg up is causing some challenges. He’s 6’3 and his knees are taking a beating: the injured leg because of the extra cast weight and putting it up straight on pillows to elevate it: any suggestions on a better system to elevate the foot while supporting the knee. The other knee is hurting because it’s taking all the strain of his body weight when crutching around: would ice help with this? Also, he has been getting a bit of pain in the wrist when he uses the crutches: is there a special way to hold your hands so you don’t develop another injury like carpal tunnel?

      Sally from the Jan 31, 2013 post: I hope your son is healing well: it’s so hard as a mom to watch your child in pain.

      • fractralfoot on

        Oh boy…I can only give you my experience, obviously, as I’m not a doctor or PT person, but it seems clear that you are getting information from the professional side, too.
        As far as the foot turning purple…yup, it did that. I don’t remember how far up the leg it went, or how bright it was, but it did turn purple when it was lowered. Everyone said it would stop doing that once I started walking, and they were right. I would still ask the doctor, though.
        Pain…I don’t remember how much, thank goodness, but at first it must have been considerable, because I was on oxycodon. I remember there seemed to be a band around my toes and also around the big toe. The foot was also supersensitive to cold, and I would try to put blankets around it in such a way that they wouldn’t put weight on it.

        Pins and Needles…I had pins and needles down my leg for some time. The top of the foot was very sensitive, and when I finally put my weight on it..WOW!!! All that went away.

        Raising the foot above the level of the heart…my surgeon was really conservative. I was three months on the couch with the foot elevated. I was lucky that I could take off from work for that long. The doctor said that was one of the reasons I healed so well. Much of the time, I lay with my leg draped over the back of the couch. Othertimes I used pillows under it. I set up my laptop for voice recognition, or whatever it’s called, so I could type lying down.
        Crutches…I just tried to keep my wrists straight (as though I was doing a pushup on my fists). Of course, he knows to keep the crutches out of his armpits…Wearing two tee shirts can help avoiding having the crutches rub.

        Activity…I was actually in the cast for too long as they forgot to tell me I could remove it at night after a while. I have lost some flexibility in my achilles..before this I could do a full side lunge with one foot flat on the floor and now i can’t. However, I am over 60, so I am going to be different from a 15-year old. Just from my point of view, I would first make sure nothing I was going to do, like swimming, would have a negative impact on the foot later on, because this, too, will pass. Given that, I would get the muscles and joints working as soon as possible. But that’s just my take.
        As far as icing the other knee..maybe. Does your son have a coach? He probably would be a good resource.

        Anyway, that’s my take. By the way, rehab was long and took a lot of work, but I got almost everything back. My doctor said that usually after one year, you recovered as much as you were going to, but in my case, he thought I might continue improving. He was right.

  12. Wendi on

    Lis franc injury – non surgery

    Worst injury ever! That’s what I’ve called it to date. I did mine playing sport. Stepped and heard a loud crack. It took 3 weeks to diagnose but while that was happening i was in a moon boot. Then got told I was going into a cast for 3 weeks, it was touch and go re surgery but they decided not to. I’m now out of the cast and back into a moon boot for 6 weeks! I can’t walk without the moon boot as the foot is still so sore and feels like it will crack if weight is put on it. I am wondering “what next” once I do get the moon boot off. Is this a 6-9 month rehab? Is there a chance I’ll need surgery down the track? All these questions and I’m not sure who to ask or who can answer them……..worst injury ever!

    • fractralfoot on

      It really is a bummer, isn’t it! I don’t know the answer, either, especially since mine did involve an operation. I do know it’s very important for the foot to heal properly because if it doesn’t the arch can be compromised. First step might be to ask the doctor who guided you in the decision about surgery. That person will probably be the one who will prescribe PT if you are going to have it. You may have to really insist on accurate information! One mistake I made was not to really pin my doctor down about post-cast treatment.

      Just another idea is to post on the Lisfranc Injury Facebook page. It’s in the first group of links on this blog. I don’t know how accurate the responses will be, but they might give you an idea.

      Good luck with it!

  13. Kimmie on

    lisfranc dislocation/injury – no surgery (Adelaide Australia)

    August 6th 2014 – I was playing netball – my first season in 6 years just for some exercise – start of my fifth game and just took off wrong and heard a pop, felt like the rubber under my shoe had bent, but it was my foot! i stretched my toes and popped it back in and heard a pop again and then felt immense pain.

    After 4 hours in the Hospital I finally got an x-ray and luckily the lisfranc dislocation was picked up straight away. A cast was put on for about a week before seeing a specialist, and then a walking boot was put on after deciding against surgery, I was on crutches for about 2 to 3 weeks until I was given the okay to weight bear with the boot as the lisfranc injury was “borderline/minor”. 11 weeks passed and I was told that I could ween myself out of the boot and begin physiotherapy and start rehab to walk again. My calf and thigh muscles had diminished considerably. The first week my leg was so weak I thought I’d never be able to walk again. By the end of the second week I had improved considerably, no pain, and was told that I could get rid of the boot altogether. I would tire easily but I was happy to be rid of the boot!

    Now 3 weeks completely boot free, I am still “limping” or have an “altered gait”. Some days I get extremely frustrated that I cannot move very fast or wear normal shoes but then I remind myself that it could be so much worse! Some days are better than others. The last few days I have been getting a pain which made me panic thinking it was the injury deteriorating, but my Podiatrist reassured me that because I am not walking properly and pushing off with my calf muscle (as it is not completely rehabilitated or strong enough), i have aggravated my digital extensor tendons. I am seeing my Podiatrist tonight so she can give me some stretches and massages to do to help this. I have been given some orthotic inserts for my sneakers and am wearing them in as we speak!

    Although it has definitely tested my patience, I am hopeful that I will make a full recovery.

    My best advice is to be as patient as you can, find somebody that is very knowledgeable about lisfranc injuries (as is my podiatrist who has been a GODSEND!), and do what they tell you and do it properly.. Your recovery depends on your efforts.

    Thank you for your positive lisfranc stories! There aren’t many out there as only the negative ones have been written about. I hope my story gives at least one person some hope

    • fractralfoot on

      And thank you for posting a hopeful story! My equivalent of your podiatrist was my PT. I don’t think she had ever had a client with a lisfranc injury before, so she really worked at finding effective exercises and also listened to my ideas! What a jewel. After 11 weeks off the foot I couldn’t put any weight on it at all without pain like an electric shock shooting through it, and I had a full month of PT before I was allowed to put full weight. So I am not surprised you are walking funny for a bit!
      Good luck with the rehab!

  14. Sandy zander on

    Thank you for starting this blog. It is very helpful. A lot of the information is right in line with what I’m feeling. I am 43 year old female and I injured myself playing tennis August 7, 2014. Went to ER and they said it was a sprain. I knew it was worse because my foot folded completely in half at the midpoint. So I saw an orthopedist and he diagnosed it correctly. He said that the treatment for this injury was to go into a boot, crutches for 8 weeks then PWB for 2 wks then full weight at 12 weeks. I put on a sneaker and rehabbed for two more months before a second opinion sent me into surgery on December 4, 2014. I am now 3.5 weeks out and miserable. My surgeon specializes in foot and ankle at the hospital for special surgery in NYC. He says I’ll start weight bearing in a boot at 6 weeks. This differs greatly from a lot of people on here that say 12 weeks of non weight bearing. Does anyone know why???? And can you say whether I’ll be able to play tennis again????
    Thank you
    This is therapeutic.
    Sandy Z

    • fractralfoot on

      Hi Sandy…yup, it’s a drag, isn’t it. I don’t know why your surgeon says 6 weeks, but I do know that Special Surgery is a really good hospital, and I figure the sooner you can start using the foot, (without causing swelling) the better! It may have to do with the way you messed up the foot or the way he was able to repair it. Or maybe the theories about it have changed. For one thing, I do know that the circulation improves once one starts using the foot again.

      Might be interesting to ask him, or his nurse. Nurses, in my experience, are often more honest!

      As far as tennis, well, I can say that a most people who had blogs or who posted here were able to take up their normal lives again. Some of them did athletics (including an Olympic athlete). If I played tennis, I certainly would still be able to. So just don’t give up, do lots of PT, don’t listen to the gloom and doomers, and do have the attitude that you may still be improving even after one year!

  15. Sandy on

    Thanks so much
    You sound so positive and it’s very encouraging coming from someone who’s been there. It’s extremely frustrating having been through the recovery once before already. It just feels like the days go so slow and right now just looking for a light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks again. I’ll keep you posted!!!

    • fractralfoot on

      Sorry it took me so long to get back. I can’t imagine going thru the recovery process more than once! If you are stuck at home with the foot elevated much of the time, have you considered doing an online course? I like the ones at edx.org and coursera. Of course, some of them are awful, but I was lucky to have found one that’s really good. But it sounds like you start weight bearing in 2 1/2 weeks, right?

  16. athens11 on

    Anyone travel on airplane with new non-weight bearing cast? Injury happened 10 days ago–ER said a sprain. Just diagnosed today by orthopod as Lisfranc injury (no surgery). And I had planned a five-day trip to NYC: opera, conference (mostly sitting in hotel and restaurant reservations.) with a friend.

    • fractralfoot on

      I haven’t had that pleasure! Perhaps someone on the Lisfranc Facebook page might have…I can tell you that in NYC the bus drivers will put down the wheelchair lift for someone on crutches. You may have to ask them to do it. And people on the bus are really good about giving up their seats to someone with a cane or crutches. The subway platforms can be very slippery and difficult to deal with.

  17. Toni on

    First, I would ask your Doctor about travel. I was in a boot and waiting for surgery and wanted to go on business trip I had won and was told absolutely “no”. I had surgery July, 2012 and suffered with the pins and screws in the foot during recovery. Finally, September, 2014 another Dr removed the hardware and I have to say it is the best decision, I no longer have massive swelling and shooting pains 24/7.

    Traveling is difficult. Do you have someone who can travel with you? If not don’t go.

    I took a trip in July 2013 a year later and a suitcase was flung in my direction at baggage claim. I still protect my foot in crowds and it seems like it is a magnet. My friends Ipad dropped on the top of my foot. Ouch

  18. Athens11 on

    Thanks for responding–very good info. Dr said okay to travel next week, no surgery yet–will check with x-Rays again in 4 weeks. Now in an air cast. And yes I am traveling with someone. He said I can put a little weight on air cast as comfortable, but I think I’ll take a cane rather than my crutches in airport, etc.

  19. leanne holdsworth on

    My story differs so much to everyone else’s as I was not in training or a car accident. I was watering my allotment with an extendable, hosepipe that lost pressure, then suddenly shrunk as these hosepipes do and pulled me backwards, no idea why I was still holding the hosepipe as it threw me in the air and landed me two feet to my greenhouse on the gravel with the hosepipe still on so I was soaked. I knew I had done something to my foot but was unsure, waited an hour for an ambulance on the floor. X Ray showed numerous fractures and a dislocation. I suffer with Ellery dallas syndrome so because of this I had a bone fusion as plates and pins would not work well in my body. I was in a temp cast for three weeks, hospital for one week, three and a half hour surgery, hospital for three days. Proper cast was fitted a couple of days after surgery for six weeks and currently have two weeks to go to see If my foot has healed, if so then I have a boot for four weeks or more. Sorry long story lol. Currently having a lot of pi ‘s and needles and aching, plus my foot cracked badly the other day, not sure if that is normal.

  20. Phil on

    9-18-16
    36 yr old male. Mountain bike accident – Going around a wooden banked corner, lost speed and slid down the bank, causing the bike and myself to land on my left foot. Snapping sensation in my foot. Tried to stand up and it felt like my foot folded in half in the middle.”Ouch!” Was able to coast the bike back down and pedal back to the truck with my heel on the pedal. Went to the ER where I was X-Rayed and the nurse said “You really broke it good!” The orthopedic surgeon diagnosed it as a “Lisfranc fracture/dislocation, 2nd 3rd and 4th metatarsal possible avulsion fracture on the 2nd. He said I may or may not need surgery and ordered a CT scan to be sure and wrapped me in a hard cast – non weight bearing in crutches. Still waiting for the CT scan. Can wiggle my toes and no pain meds after the 3rd day. Not knowing if I will need surgery or not is frustrating. Just finished rehabbing a high ankle sprain on my right anke before the accident, and am dreading the atrophy. Glad I found this blog, as some of the others were depressing. I love skiing and being active and hope to recover 100%. Will keep you updated…

    • fractralfoot on

      Sorry I missed this, as I don’t check the blog any more! I hope your recoverly is going well.

  21. Nancy on

    I’m a 60 yr.old woman with a lisfranc injury.6 wks.in.Dr. recomended surg.what will happen if I dont.very scaredNancy

    • fractralfoot on

      I’m glad I saw this…I don’t check this blog very often. There seem to be several different kinds of Lisfranc injuries, so it’s hard to say what will happen if you don’t do the surgery, but the consensus seems to be to listen to what the doctor says! I made a complete recovery, as did several other people I was in contact with while the whole thing was going on. Six or seven years later, it’s a dim memory.

      There is a lisfranc injury Facebook group, I believe, that is more up-to-date than my blog. I found that being in contact with other people dealing with the same or similar problem was helpful.

      And, by the way my surgeon was much more draconian in his approach than many others seem to be. He had me off my foot for a lot longer, and also didn’t take the hardware out. You may have an easier experience! I wish you the best of luck.

  22. holden74 on

    Not sure if anyone still uses this. I fell 8 feet landing on one foot and doing my lisfranc with a fracture dislocation. My worry now is its four months ago happened on the 13th April 2017 still only 50% with the boot feels like foot will break going to 100% in boot. Anyone had that feeling?

    • fractralfoot on

      I happened to see your post…don’t think anyone is following thr blog any more..but to answer your question, my situation may have been different because I wasn’t allowed to have any weight on the foot for 3 months and had to keep it elevated for that time. When I was finally allowed to try putting weight on it, it felt as though an electric shock went through the foot. I did a month of PT before I was allowed to put weight on it again. So I would so, yes, putting weight on it at 4 months was painful, but it may well have been for a different reason. I would talk to the doctor or therapist if I were in that position!

      • Sandy on

        My recovery was longer and more complicated. The short version…… I was put in a boot and told it would heal on its own if I was non weight bearing for 12 weeks and after 5 months I went to get a second opinion because I was still limping and couldn’t run or do stairs. I was told I needed surgery to fuse the foot with 4 long screws. Surgery went well but was so painful. Take the pain meds if you have this done. You can’t get through it without them. I was in bed non weight bearing foot in the air for 8 weeks and then I was allowed to use a scooter and crutches for the last 4 weeks in the cast. I was able to walk but was sore all the time in month 4. I was able to play tennis in month 6 but was sore and swollen after I played. At 14 months I was playing without soreness but had moderate swelling. I was happy for a year and then I formed a bursa sac over a screw at the top of my foot and it wouldn’t go away from the friction of shoes and had my screws removed. 6 weeks later I am playing paddle and tennis and no soreness or swelling. I will forever have a limited show collection though. I can’t wear anything too flat or too high. Hope this helps.


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