The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

NFL Injuries: What’s a Lisfranc and Why Did It Put Santonio Holmes on IR?

Posted by on Friday, October 5th, 2012


If you follow the NFL, then you probably heard the New York Jets’ announcement that they were putting wide receiver Santonio Holmes on season-ending injury reserve because of a Lisfranc injury.

I can imagine many of you may have then said, “Arrggh!!! What is this awful Lisfranc thing that keeps ruining players’ seasons?!! And therefore my seasons!!”

Good question! The Lisfranc is not just one bone, but rather a group of bones and tendons located in the middle section of your foot, at the top of your arch right before it begins to slope down to your ankle joint. The Lisfranc complex helps connect the metatarsals, the long bones that reach from your midfoot to the base of your toes, to your ankle bones. A Lisfranc injury can be caused by direct trauma, such as a heavy object falling square on that area of your foot, or it can be a “low energy” injury, meaning that it comes from twisting your foot or taking a bad step. Think of how athletes in just about all sports have to quickly cut and turn you can see why this strikes so many.

Lisfranc injuries can be difficult to diagnose. People often think they just have an ankle sprain. If you thought you had an ankle sprain but it doesn’t seem to be healing, you should see a podiatrist at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine (212.996.1900) for an examination and diagnosis; you may have a Lisfranc injury.

(By the way, the injury is named for 19th century French army physician Jacques Lisfranc St. Martin. He found it in soldiers whose feet were caught in the stirrups when they were thrown from their horses in battle. Thanks, Dr. Jacques!)

Treatment and recovery are tough–surgery is usually required for a Lisfranc injury; if bones are displaced, they may need to be reset with pins or screws. You would spend about six to eight weeks in a cast, followed by time in a walking boot, and then you would need physical therapy. It takes a really long time to heal. If the Jets had delusions of making the playoffs in January, Holmes still might not be really ready; even if the injury was healed, he wouldn’t be in game shape.

So what’s the impact of Holmes’s injury?

Real World Impact If you’re a fan of the Jets, the good news is that Holmes’s injury probably won’t change the season that much. The bad news is that means they were struggling with him and will just keep struggling without him. There’s no one really to take his place–the  other Jets receivers, Chaz Schilens and Stephen Hill, are nothing to get excited about. Dustin Keller is a decent tight end but he’s been a hard time getting on the field while he deals with his own injuries. The running game can’t pick up the slack, with Bilal Powell only slightly better than Shonn Greene. And don’t forget that the defense was devastated by the loss of star Darrelle Revis to a torn ACL.

So there is no one to catch the ball, and it’s now unclear who will be throwing it. Incumbent starting QB Mark Sanchez hasn’t been able to get the not-very-talented offense going, and there have been indications this week that starstruck owner Woody Johnson is looking at the Holmes injury and the team’s terrible Week 4 loss as reasons to start backup Tim Tebow, in the hope that he’ll win some games with a little Tebow magic. Some magic would be necessary, because although Tebow is great at communicating and respected by his team, he is not a great thrower of a football. Jets fans shouldn’t get their hopes up about the switch and magic, though. Do you know who believes in magic? Very young children. Do you know who doesn’t? Winning sports bettors. So the best I can say to Jets fans–and I have friends who suffer from this identity–is I’m sorry, and think about the draft.

Fantasy impact If you had Holmes on your team, then you a) are probably in a very, very big league, like 16 teams b) are a huge fan of the Jets and can’t resist drafting your own team’s players or c) you were the victim of a very bad auto-draft or a “friend” who volunteered to draft for you. If you had Holmes on your team, then surely you dropped him by now. If you’re looking to pick up a receiver, here are some interesting ideas:

  • Brian  Hartline After his big Week 4 performance, a lot of people picked him up, but he’s still available in some leagues. There’s no guarantee he’ll repeat last week’s stats, especially with an unpredictable rookie QB, but at least it seems clear that Tannehill will be targeting him.
  • Dominic Hixon He had a stellar Week 4, but is still hardly owned (only 34% in Yahoo! leagues). With Hakeem Nicks out again and Ramses Barden, the Week 3 hero also out, there’s every reason to believe that Hixon will be a big part of the Giant offense again.
  • Jerome Simpson He just came back from suspension and should be a good target for increasingly impressive Minnesota QB Christian Ponder. He’s only owned in 26% of Yahoo! leagues. I’d take a flyer on him (indeed I might).

Good luck and beware of the Lisfranc monster!


If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.