What is the role of casting in the treatment of Lisfranc fracture dislocation?

Updated: Apr 20, 2020
  • Author: Nirmal Tejwani, MD, MPA; Chief Editor: Thomas M DeBerardino, MD  more...
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Answer

Medical treatment is reserved for injuries that are anatomically stable and nondisplaced. This type of injury is best labeled as a sprain, though associated fractures in the surrounding bone may be present (eg, metatarsal [MT] fracture). An athlete with a stable Lisfranc injury usually cannot compete for the remainder of the season. Early return to high-level activity can lead to chronic pain and progressive arthropathy. Therefore, athletes should be given special consideration.

Initial treatment should consist of a well-molded nonweightbearing short leg cast worn for a minimum of 6 weeks. Advancement of ambulation depends on resolution of symptoms. Because many of these injuries initially present with midfoot edema that may help stabilize damaged tissues, all stable injuries should be reexamined approximately 2 weeks after injury. Weightbearing radiographs should be obtained at 4-6 weeks to ensure continued anatomic alignment.

After 6 weeks, progressive weightbearing can be allowed in a well-molded cast, advancing as comfort allows. When full weightbearing in a cast is comfortable, the patient can be advanced to a supportive shoe and reconditioning. The patient can be advanced to an accommodative orthotic with a contoured carbon shank so as to minimize midfoot stress.

Combined closed reduction and casting has no role in the treatment of unstable injuries. Constantly maintaining reduction with casting alone has proved too difficult. In addition, interposing soft tissues can impede closed reduction. For example, the anterior tibial tendon can block reduction of a lateral Lisfranc dislocation; similarly, the peroneus brevis tendon can block a medial dislocation reduction.


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