Lis Franc

If you’re an athlete, a Lis Franc sprain is probably the worst foot injury you can get. This injury occurs when the midfoot bones are broken or dislocated from the Lis Franc ligament, which provides support to the midfoot and stabilizes the arch during push off. Essentially, the foot does not work. In this blog post, we’ll break down everything you need to know about a Lis Franc sprain, including its symptoms, recovery time, and surgical interventions.

Lis Franc Injury Information

Lis France Anatomy

The foot is made up of 3 parts; the toes, midfoot and hindfoot/ankle. The Lis Franc connects the toes and midfoot and provides support.

The Lis France additionally stabilizes the arch during push off. If the Lis France doesn’t work, neither does the entire foot (source).

Bony anatomy as it relates to the Lis Franc ligament

How Does a Lis Franc Sprain Happen?

The most common way to injure the Lis France ligament is through a direct force (axial load) while the foot is plantar flexed. This is most common in football but can occur in any activity in which there are high speed movements.

Mechanism for a Lis Franc injury

Symptoms of a Lis Franc Sprain

The most common symptoms of a Lis Franc are as follows:

  • Massive swelling/edema
  • Inability to bear weight
  • Bruising
  • Instability (you can basically fold the foot in half)

With a Lis Franc injury, there can be sprains, dislocations and fractures all simultaneously

    Recovery Time

    A Lis Franc is a terrible injury

    Even if you have a low grade sprain, you are looking at weeks to months, most often immobilized before rehab can even start

    Recovery time for a minor sprain starts at 6-8 weeks

    Surgery may involve being casted/immobilized for 3 months

    Full recovery can vary anywhere from 6 weeks to a full year, with 6 weeks being the exception, not the rule

    Rehab For a Lis Franc Sprain

    Rehab for a Lis Franc is similar to an ankle. As the foot is often immobilized for 6 weeks, ROM and atrophy of the entire foot/ankle complex set in

    Any way you load the ankle, the midfoot is loaded and strengthened as well. Only difference here again is the time it will take

    The primary goal is to restore full ROM, balance and strength of the foot and ankle

    A guide for early ankle ROM can be found here.

    For strengthening exercises, see the guide here

    Surgical Intervention

    Surgery is only performed in the presence of a fracture or complete ligament rupture

    There are 2 types of surgical interventions:

    1. Open reduction internal fixation (ORIF)
    2. Fusion


    The surgeon will use plates, screws to hold the bones in place

    In this technique, the surgeon may leave the hardware in temporarily which means another surgery in roughly 6 months


    The bones are welded into place to provide support

    As to which technique is better, the data is very inconsistent

    However fusion typically leads to better outcomes in terms of pain (source)

    In summary, a Lis Franc is the last foot injury you want to sustain as recovery time is always in the months. In almost all cases it will end an athlete’s season