03 Feb Can you Sprain the Mid Foot?
What Exactly Is a Midfoot Sprain?
When people talk about foot injuries, they usually talk about the heel or the toe. Midfoot injuries are rare, but they can be disabling and painful.
Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers and Darren McFadden of the Oakland Rangers are two high-profile athletes who have recently suffered midfoot sprains. College football players are also prone to them. The fast cutting, twisting motions involved in football put football players at particularly high risk for this injury.
Where Is the Midfoot?
The middle foot or midfoot is the central area of your foot between the toes and the heel. It includes the cluster of bones that form the arch of your foot and the five long metatarsals that end in your toes.
Your midfoot contains a network of ligaments and joints that connect all these bones to each other. They also connect your midfoot bones to the bones of your heel and forefoot.
Your midfoot is integral to proper movement. It holds your arch in place while helping to distribute the weight from your calf muscles to your foot. Fast, hard movement across this middle region can lead to a ligament strain.
What Is a Midfoot Injury?
A midfoot sprain isn’t a muscle sprain. It’s a sprain of the ligaments that hold the middle tarsal bones of your foot together.
In most cases, it’s a simple injury involving one joint or ligament. In others, it can be a complicated injury that includes ligament strains along with bone and joint fractures. Some foot specialists use the term Lisfranc injury to refer to this type of serious middle foot sprain. The name comes from the emperor Napoleon Bonaparte’s surgeon, who first identified the midfoot area.
Sports podiatrists classify midfoot injuries into three categories:
- Grade 1: A minor sprain.
- Grade 2: Severe ligament strain or partial rupture.
- Grade 3: Total ligament rapture.
If you have a grade 1 injury, you need to rest the foot and use over-the-counter pain medication until it heals. Grade 2 injuries require longer rest and more intensive therapy. Only surgery can repair a grade 3 injury.
What Causes a Midfoot Sprain?
A midfoot sprain happens when you turn or twist your upper body while keeping your feet planted in place. Instead of transferring your weight into the ground, you transfer your body’s weight onto your foot. If you’re doing this at full speed, the movement can exert tremendous strain on your foot’s ligaments.
This is the most frequent cause of a midfoot injury. You can also injure it if someone kicks your foot or if something heavy lands on it.
Symptoms of a Midfoot Injury
- You’ll feel pain immediately if your midfoot is injured.
- You may initially see heavy bruising around the injury.
- In a short time, the area will swell and feel extremely tender to the touch.
How Do You Treat a Midfoot Injury?
If your midfoot injury is mild, you can usually recover full use of the foot with minimal intervention. You must completely rest your foot and follow your doctor’s recommendations for physical therapy and supportive footwear.
If your injury is more severe, you’ll need a more detailed intervention. You will need a long rest period, extensive physical therapy, custom orthotics and other supportive measures to ease your pain and heal the ligaments. You may have to avoid your sport for several weeks or months.
When Should You Contact a Sports Podiatrist?
You should contact a podiatrist immediately. A podiatrist who specializes in sports medicine can diagnose your midfoot injury to determine if it’s mild or serious. The sooner you start treatment, the sooner you can heal your foot and get back to your favorite activities.
At Shuman Podiatry & Sports Medicine, we have experience treating midfoot injuries of all types. If you’re experiencing any midfoot pain, contact us today.