Hi everyone! I thought I'd share my experience with a Lisfranc injury. I know when I was laid-up, I spent many hours scouring the internet for other people's experiences with this injury, and sadly, there weren't too many positive ones. And many were several years old. So I thought I would make a point to share mine, because I know it can be comforting to those of you reading this with your foot propped up in a cast.
In August, I tripped up some stairs when my strappy flip flops got stuck on the edge of a step. It swelled up immediately, with A LOT of pain. I went to an urgent care center the following morning. They initially missed the injury on the x-ray and started to send me home with a hard shoe and some crutches, but the radiologist called them back and told them I needed to get in with an orthopedic specialist immediately.
I met with my Ortho the next day and he filled me in on the severity of a Lisfranc injury. He ordered a CT scan to determine if I needed surgery to correct it. We ultimately decided that surgery would be my best option, even though I wanted so badly to recover without going under the knife. But with this type of injury, it's just not that easy.
One week after my fall, I went into surgery. My doctor placed 2 screws in my foot. I ended up staying in the hospital overnight and all day the next day... They wanted to pump me full of antibiotics to prevent infection (which is a risk with procedures involving your bones) and blood thinners to prevent blood clots (which is a huge risk when you're non weight bearing for as long as I would be). I was also very very sick from the anesthesia, and they wanted to keep me until that settled to make sure I would be able to handle pain medicine and all that. I was released with orders to continue taking blood thinning medication and they arranged for a home nurse to visit for a few weeks to monitor my blood and make sure it was at the level needed to prevent clotting.
The surgery was done in 3 incisions- a large one down the middle of my foot and two smaller ones on either side of it, where the screws went in at an angle.
I was put in a hard cast with a lot of padding immediately after surgery (I woke up with it on) and I stayed in that cast for 2 weeks. After that a new cast went on with less padding (this one looked much more like a normal cast) for 6 weeks.
Initially, the pain after surgery was very intense. But keeping my foot elevated kept swelling down and helped with pain.
About a month and a half in, I switched from primarily using a wheelchair to using a 'knee walker', one of those kneeling scooters. I definitely recommend them once you're comfortable enough to use it- they're faster and more compact than a wheelchair, but easier than crutches. And they're better for your circulation.
When my second cast came off, I went into an air cast, or as we called it, "the boot". Still non weight bearing, but allowed to take my foot out and move it around and stretch it, preparing the muscles for the movement that would come along with weight bearing. I was taken off blood thinners at this time as well.
At the beginning of December, exactly 3 months after the screws went in, I had them taken out. They reopened the small incisions to remove the screws. This procedure was short and sweet, and I could immediately tell that my foot was more flexible. The incisions were the most painful part- they burned at the surface for about 2 or 3 days (I described it as feeling like they were 'bleeding fire' haha).
About a week after that I started wearing normal shoes applying some weight. I used crutches or a walker to walk a short distance (like to the bathroom) a couple times a day. And I started physical therapy around that time as well (mid-December).
It's the end of February and I am still making great progress. I am careful about the shoes I wear--I bought supportive, high-quality tennis shoes for physical therapy and exercise, and I usually wear Ugg boots with high-quality orthotic inserts other times. I am still in physical therapy, since I am still working to bring my calf muscles back and building up full range of motion.
I have a slight limp that I am working with my physical therapist to overcome. And there is at least some pain with every step (but considering the intense severe pain I have been through with the rest of this injury, this is nothin'!). It still swells if I overuse it, and I ice it on a daily basis.
Today is 6 months to the day that I injured myself, and I saw the doctor today and was officially released from his care. He also gave orders to begin transitioning out of physical therapy and into just home exercises. Also--the big milestone--I walked a 5K this past weekend! Sure, I was slow, and it was painful, but just being able to do it feels pretty amazing.
I know that this injury can have a lot of affect on your life. I'm 25 and live on my own, but spent my entire recovery at my parents' house with their help. I certainly went through phases of feeling very depressed, which sounds like is common with a Lisfranc injury. The combination of losing your independence and being so unsure about the long-term effects definitely takes its toll. I wanted to share my experience to hopefully help answer questions I know I had, and to show that there is light at the end of the tunnel!
If you are currently a non weight bearing member of the Lisfranc Injury Club, I have 2 pieces of advice. 1. ELEVATE. It makes all the difference. 2. Be patient. I know the 12-16 weeks of non weight bearing can feel like a life sentence, but it does end eventually. And life is that much sweeter on the other side. I get psyched about the smallest things like taking the trash out, because now being able to carry something down the stairs feels like an accomplishment, not a chore.