The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

NFL News: Details of Nevin Lawson’s Foot Dislocation

Posted by on Wednesday, November 12th, 2014


A dislocation involves the separation of two bones where they meet at the joint. The foot contains 26 bones and 33 joints, so it’s actually surprising that we don’t hear about more foot dislocations in professional athletes. It takes great trauma and force to cause such an injury, though, and we most commonly see foot dislocations with fall injuries, car accidents, or a crushing injury to the top of the foot. Nevin Lawson, the Detroit Lions’ rookie cornerback, suffered a dislocated foot in a week two loss against North Carolina that the Detroit Free Press referred to as “gruesome.”

foot dislocation
The Detroit Lions lose their rookie cornerback from Utah State for the whole season with a “gruesome” foot dislocation. Image Source:

What Happened to Nevin Lawson?

According to The Detroit NewsLawson “went down in punt coverage with a left foot injury in the third quarter.” Immediately, he knew something had gone horribly wrong.

“One section of my foot was dislocated, so there was basically a knot in the middle of the foot,” he said. “Just look at a ball in the middle of your foot, that’s how it looked.… It looked messed up.” Since it “didn’t look like a normal foot,” he knew he’d be out for the whole year.

Medical crews carted Lawson off the field and rushed him to a hospital in Charlotte. A foot specialist attending the game quickly ordered surgery to repair the damage done. He spent two nights in the hospital before returning to Detroit on Tuesday for rehabilitation. He spent two long months in a cast. Over three months later, he is still in a walking boot and using crutches “for a couple weeks,” he says.

Lawson expects to participate in offseason workouts and is trying to stay sharp by studying film from the games. “I think I’ll be a better player than I was coming in,” he told reporters, “because… the game is 98 percent mental,” Lawson said. “Physically, anybody can get ready and prepare physically to compete for a sport, but mentally, that’s tough and I feel like that’s where I’m making progress at, being that I’m not physically active.”

Types of Foot Dislocation

There are several different types of foot dislocation:

– Subtalar dislocation: affects where the ankle and foot joint come together

– Total talar dislocation: affects the top of the foot, near the ankle

– Lisfranc dislocation: affects the midfoot

– Toe dislocation: affects the toes

From what we’ve heard, Lawson likely suffered a Lisfranc dislocation. Often with this type of dislocation, the supportive ligaments have torn over time, which allows multiple bones to shift out of place all at once. We’ve seen some Lisfranc injuries that just look like a bad bruise, and others where the entire foot is out of alignment. It all just depends on the dynamics of the injury.

How to Treat a Dislocated Foot

As with any major trauma, a foot dislocation must first be stabilized with direct pressure applied to stop the bleeding, and the injury covered with a sterile dressing. The patient’s appendage must be immobilized, and the patient made as comfortable as possible for immediate transport to an emergency room. Antibiotics and a tetanus shot may need to be administered. Internal fixation surgery is generally considered most effective, but about a quarter of these patients will end up developing arthritis in the joint later on. After surgery, two months in a cast, followed by six to eight weeks of non-weight-bearing, is pretty standard. The speed at which a patient adds weight or returns to impact activities remains at the surgeon’s discretion.

Foot Dislocation Treatment in NYC

The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in NYC has a full staff of podiatrists, podiatric surgeons, physical therapists, and sports medicine doctors to help with acute foot dislocation, diagnosis, casting, and rehabilitation. Our board-certified professionals work with athletes of all calibers, from grade school to pro. We understand how difficult the mental aspects of recovery can be and work to get you back to the sports you love as quickly as possible by using the latest technology. Contact us for details.


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.