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Lisfranc Injury Recovery

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Old 02-28-2011, 09:50 PM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Louisville
Posts: 2
LisfrancLucy HB User
Smile Lisfranc Injury Recovery

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.

The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to LisfrancLucy For This Useful Post:
clumbsymom (08-30-2011),hopefulmimi (11-08-2012)
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Old 03-27-2011, 11:53 AM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Norwich, United Kingdom
Posts: 10
Samw89 HB User
Re: Lisfranc Injury Recovery

Hi, great to here your recovery story, it sounds very similar to mine! I also suffered a lisfranc at the end of november last year. Similar story, 2 weeks in hospital, surgery, and 4 screws, followed by 8 weeks in plaster, 4 weeks in a boot with limited weight bearing. It is an incredibly difficult experience, I can honestly say I reached an all time low, this injury has caused me to put back my final year of university, literally messing up everything, but now I am beginning to recover and it is AWESOME! I have now been back in normal shoes since the 26th february, at first with crutches, but I am now walking again properly, as well as driving, without any difficulty.

I cannot agree more with what you said regarding elevation. My doctor also advised the importance of a healthy diet, and in the recovery stages to go swimming and walk short distances.

I have not been offered any physio for my injury, due to the overcrowded health service here in the UK, so it has been very much a trial and error experience, if i do too much walking or standing on my foot in a day, my foot does ache, but it is not unbearable, more irritating. However, after a month, I am beginning to get more of an idea of what I can and can't do, and this is improving every day!

I am now awaiting a final appointment, where the consultant will determine whether or not the screws will be removed. I have been told there is a possibility they may stay in? which surprises me...

Anyway, I hope the rest of your recovery goes well, and all the best of luck for the future!

Sam. x

Old 04-13-2011, 08:58 AM   #3
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Portland, Oregon, USA
Posts: 2
soakedinoregon HB User
Re: Lisfranc Injury Recovery

I too suffered a Lis Franc fracture. I had fractured 3 bones and dislocated one. The hospital missed this fracture/dislocation and said it was just a sprain. I had to wait 8 days to get into the Orthopedics office because they thought it was just a sprain. The bottom of my foot had an enormous bruise on my arch by the next day. The bruising was also on the sides of my foot. The arch bruising is common for determining the possibility of a Lis Franc fracture. As soon as I got into the Orthopedic's office they sent me for a CT Scan. My orthopedic doctor said I needed to see a specialist and that this injury was very severe. I had surgery 4 days later because of scheduling. I was 12 days with a broken/dislocated foot. I walked on the side of my foot after the hospital told me it was just a sprain until the Orthopedic's office gave me a boot.
I have 3 screws. My bones were fused together. I was told by removing the cartiledge at the joint it will prevent any arthritis in the future. Two of the screws were for the fusing and the other screw goes sideways through the inside of my foot to hold everything in place. Post surgery was the most painful thing that I have ever been through. I have had 3 children. I also had nerve damage because the doctor had to stretch the nerve out of the way to insert the screws. The nerve pain felt like a hot rod was being driven between my big toe and second toe. After 6 weeks of taking Percocet they gave me Gabapentin (Neurontin 300 mg capsule) which is for nerve damage and this helped with the nerve pain. My foot and big toe were completely numb. I no longer had to take the narcotic Percocet. Before the Gabapentin I would take warm baths and soak my foot to relieve the nerve pain. I had to take the Gabapentin for 2 months. I too had a knee scooter for 2 months. I couldn't have gotten around as good as I did without the scooter. After 2 months I was in a boot for another month. Transitioning to a shoe was difficult. I've only been able to wear soft tennis shoes and a pair of flip flops ($80.00) from the walking store. They had built in arch supports in their flip flops, but well worth the cost to wear a sandal.
Today 6 months later.... Still icing my foot everyday. I am having one of the screws removed. It's the one that goes sideways through my foot. It causes me a lot of pain. I still walk with a limp and can feel all the screws. I have to wait for another 6 months (full year) before the doctor will remove the other 2 screws that have held together the bone fusion together. This fracture has changed my life. I have not been able to walk my dogs in 6 months. I have been going to physical therapy twice a week for 3 months with initial progress, but the pain that I'm having with the sideways screw is holding my recovery up. I think...I will let you know. The only exercise that I can do is on the sit down bike. I usually ride for 30 -45 mins 4 days a week and have been doing this for the last 2 1/2 months. My doctor told me (Foot Specialist) that this recovery will take 2 years to have a 92% recovery rate.

Old 06-20-2011, 08:21 PM   #4
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Louisville
Posts: 2
LisfrancLucy HB User
Smile Re: Lisfranc Injury Recovery

Hi all! I thought I would check in again since it has now been over 6 months since I started weight bearing.

I do still have some pain in my injured foot, usually very minimal. My stamina is much better, though it's not 100%. I can typically manage being on my foot for a few hours, but I start to wear out after that. I've even been out dancing a few times (in high quality flats with arch support inserts, of course), though that usually leads to some pain and a slight limp the next day. I can walk at a mostly normal pace, but if I have to move quickly, a run kind of looks more like a gallop.

I'm still very cautious about where I step. I've noticed that if it's dark, I watch the feet of others walking in front of me to see if their feet react to anything (like a crack in the sidewalk or something). And I'm pretty slow on uneven terrain.

I am back to an exercise regimen. I joined a gym and found that using the elliptical is awesome... It allows me to get in some cardio without the full walking motion through the midfoot (since the foot stays planted). So I can get in a more intense workout than my foot would allow on the treadmill or pavement.

I am definitely missing strappy sandals this summer. I wear flats on a daily basis because I notice a difference in my stamina when I wear good arch supports. My toe strength is still not entirely recovered, so that's another reason I can't wear flip flops (you don't realize how much you use your toes to keep those things on your feet!).

August will mark 1 year since the day I broke my foot. I've come back a long way! The doctor said on my last visit in February that it would continue to get better over the next couple of years, so I know to be patient with my recovery (and to be smart and avoid pushing my limits and injuring it again).

Thanks everyone for chiming in! I hope you are all doing well with your recoveries as well!

Old 06-21-2011, 07:16 AM   #5
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Portland, Oregon, USA
Posts: 2
soakedinoregon HB User
Re: Lisfranc Injury Recovery

I am 8 months out and have been walking with my dogs since 1 of the 3 screws was removed. The other two screws need to stay in place for 1 year per my doctor. I feel them and some days are better than others. I too watch every step I take. I found that at the Walking Company they make a $90.00 flip flop that has a built in arch support. They image your foot and give you the right lift size in the arch of the flip flop. I would highly recommend these flip flops. They also have other styles in these shoes and are hoping they come out with a stylish closed toe model. The brand is ABEO. I also puchased their Aetrex Premium Orthotics TWC1200 to put in my tennis shoes. I haven't been able to wear anything but tennis shoes and these flip flops since my surgery in October 2011. My foot still swells a little and I'm looking forward to the other 2 screws being removed. After the 1st screw was removed that area felt so much better and my mobility was 100 times better in my arch. Good Luck because this break changed my life as far as the activities that I used to do. No waterskiing, no running, no basketball and the way I look at coming down stairs for at least another year. My surgery entailed fusing of the joints too because of the breaks and a dislocation. I also had never damage and my big toe is still numb. Not too bad though.

The Following User Says Thank You to soakedinoregon For This Useful Post:
clumbsymom (08-30-2011)
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