Head Coach Rex Ryan and the New York Jets received devastating news today: WR Santonio Holmes will miss the rest of the season with a Lisfranc injury, sustained during their punishing loss on Sunday to the San Francisco 49ers. A week after losing shutdown cornerback Darelle Revis, the Jets find their IR list full of star players.
So what the heck is a Lisfranc injury? According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS):
Lisfranc (midfoot) injuries result if bones in the midfoot are broken or ligaments that support the midfoot are torn. The severity of the injury can vary from simple to complex, involving many joints and bones in the midfoot.
It’s unusual for a single “named” injury to refer to a situation where there may or may not be a fracture; it’s because Lisfranc refers to the anatomic area of the injury. The most common mechanism of injury is when an athlete pushes off the front of the foot and twists it or stumbles over the top of the foot while it is flexed downwards. It is typically a low-energy injury, as was seen with Holmes, who fell before a defender came near him. The AAOS puts it best:
The midfoot is the middle region of the foot, where a cluster of small bones forms an arch on the top of the foot. From this cluster, five long bones (metatarsals) extend to the toes. The bones are held in place by connective tissues (ligaments) that stretch both across and down the foot. However, there is no connective tissue holding the first metatarsal to the second metatarsal. A twisting fall can break or shift (dislocate) these bones out of place.
According to ESPN, Holmes has sustained a ligament tear that is significant enough to require surgery. The ligament injury was diagnosed by MRI according to Rex Ryan. There was no mention of a fracture, and Xrays were reportedly negative.
Stephania Bell writes for ESPN on NFL player injuries and their impact on fantasy football. She is a physical therapist who is a board-certified orthopedic clinical specialist and a certified strength and conditioning specialist. In disussing Texans QB Matt Schaub’s Lisfranc injury last year, she referenced an earlier post of her own from 2007. It’s a great read and gives the origin of the name Lisfranc.
As Matt Schaub has proven, NFL players can recover completely from this injury and return to top form. The bad news for the Jets, of course, is that it won’t happen for Santonio Holmes this season.
Melanie Friedlander, MD, is a board-certified general surgeon. You can ask her questions about your favorite NFL athlete’s injury or follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/girlsurgeon.