The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Does Triathlete Paula Findlay Have a Lisfranc Injury?

Posted by on Wednesday, September 30th, 2015


Even though Paula Findlay was on the program cover, the poster, and the website homepage promoting the ITU World Triathlon in Edmonton, Alberta, she did not compete in this year’s event. The champion gold medalist had to withdraw at the last minute due to a mysterious foot injury she suffered a few weeks ago. Though mum’s the word on the particulars and some local media reported persistent ankle pain, we wonder if she may have damaged her Lisfranc ligament, which is a common type of triathlete injury.

midfoot injury
Did you suffer a mysterious midfoot injury like Paula Findlay? We can help! Image Source:

Paula Findlay Speaks out about Her Injury

It sounds like a riddle. Findlay told the press she had “a bone issue” in her foot.1 She also said that it was “neither broken, nor fractured — just really aggravated,” and indicated that healing “could take longer than expected.”

With these “little injuries,” she said,”one day you’re off and you’re running fast on the track and the next day’s something’s sore and you might push through it a little too much and then it becomes an injury. It happens so quickly and that’s what so frustrating about it.”2

Wisely, the 26-year-old triathlete stated: “You can get all the (medical) imaging in the world and get the advice from experts, but ultimately it comes down to pain and if it’s hurting you should not push through it. I’ve learned that over the last three years. Sometimes I don’t listen to my own advice, but I can’t keep racing at 60%.”

What Exactly Is a Lisfranc Injury?

If Paula Findlay’s injury is a bone issue but not a fracture, what is it? We speculate it could be a Lisfranc injury, which is common among competitive athletes like football and basketball players. Hardworking triathletes who push themselves to their physical limits also fall victim to this type of damage.

Often, Lisfranc injuries are presumed to be sprains. However, this type of serious injury cannot simply be “walked off” and requires professional treatment. In some cases, athletes even require surgery to prevent trouble down the road like arthritis.

The first and second long metatarsal bones that extend from the middle of the foot through the toes are only held in place by connective ligaments, so when they’re damaged, there is nothing holding these joints and bones in order. So, a Lisfranc injury can be simply described as “dislocated bones in the feet.”

A triathlete’s minor stumble over a flexed foot during a run most commonly causes a Lisfranc injury. Other times we see more severe cases with trauma like falls from a height or crushing injuries when feet get ran over by cars. Symptoms include swelling on the top of the foot pain, bruising (especially along the bottom of the foot) and pain that worsens with standing or walking.

Treatment for Lisfranc Injuries & Triathlete Injuries in NYC

If standard rest, ice, and elevation does not alleviate pain and swelling, athletes are encouraged to see a doctor right away for an MRI. Nonsurgical treatment may involve wearing a non-weightbearing cast for six weeks to keep pressure off the injury and allow healing. In other cases, internal fixation hardware may be implanted into the foot and removed three to five months down the road when healing has occurred. Rehabilitation requires six to eight weeks in a walking boot and a gradual return to activities once the hardware has been removed.

If you, like Paula Findlay, have suffered from an injury to your foot while running, swimming, or biking, come visit one of our sports medicine centers in NYC or Westchester to be evaluated. We specialize in triathlete injuries — even the mysterious kinds!




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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.