What is a Lisfranc, and does it taste good?

A couple of months ago, I stepped down onto a stair and something went wrong with my foot.  It wasn’t anything too serious and I followed the home remedy of ice, heat, elevation and ibuprofen routine.  I have raised three children, so I can handle a minor sprain.  Or so I thought.  After weeks of not returning to my usual activity level, due to pain and swelling, I finally made a doctor appointment.  The doc frowned at my story and questioned why I hadn’t come to see him when this incident first occurred?  I didn’t really have a good answer, and I didn’t think “I’m a mom, so I thought I knew what to do” would explain my logic.  And honestly, by that point, it didn’t even make much sense to me. 

Since my first visit to the doc, I’ve experienced an x-ray and an MRI to rule out something called a Lisfranc fracture.  (Pronounced “Liz Fronck”  – with a French accent.  Really.)  Luckily, I don’t have that condition and simply needed to wear a not-so-attractive boot for a week and then go visit a physical therapist. 

That brings me to today and my first appointment with the physical therapist who, from this point forward will be known as The Torturer.  He seemed very kind, concerned and SO relieved that I wasn’t suffering from the dreaded Lisfranc fracture.  However, when he got his hands on my unsuspecting foot, he began 30 minutes of twisting, turning and “massaging”.  This wasn’t like massages I’ve had in the past, where I was draped with a cool, white sheet and meditative music played in the background.  No, this was a deep, dig-your-thumb-into-my-aching-foot massage.  I tried not to cry.  He informed me that I have scar tissue from the fact that the sprain occurred so long ago, and likely healed wrong, or not at all. This can lead to scar tissue building up and then adhering to all of the wrong bones, ligaments and tendons.  My thoughts distracted me as I began to wonder how my children survived a childhood with me as their “nurse”?  And, another distraction…there’s a poster in The Torturer’s office that says the human foot contains 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles and tendons.  The Torturer actually said, “Have you heard of a doctor re-breaking someone’s foot to fix it?  Well, I’m going to have to re-injure your foot to loosen this up.  But at least we’ll know why it hurts.”  Um….okay…  I also was instructed to perform the stretching, twisting and “massaging” on myself 3-4 times per day for the next five days until I return for my next appointment.  I hope I have the courage to return.

On a side note, I was curious about the dreaded Lisfranc fracture that I somehow escaped and so I researched a bit and found out that around 1813, in Napoleon’s army, this injury occurred when riders fell from their horses with their feet caught in their stirrups.  Ouch!  The surgeon known for treating this injury by amputation, at that time, was named Jacques Lisfranc de St. Martin.  That area of the foot has since been called the “Lisfranc joint”. 

Hopefully, you’ve learned a few things from my experience.  There are many, many parts that make up the foot, Lisfranc was a surgeon in the 1800’s who named an injury after himself, and, most importantly, when you hurt yourself, you should go to the doctor.  Listen to me, I’m a mom.

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