Background: Open reduction and internal fixation has been recommended as the treatment for most unstable injuries of the Lisfranc (tarsometatarsal) joint. It has been thought that purely ligamentous injuries have a poor outcome despite such surgical management.
Methods: We performed a retrospective study of patients who underwent open reduction and screw fixation of a Lisfranc injury in a seven-year period. Among ninety-two adults treated for that injury, forty-eight patients with forty-eight injuries were followed for an average of fifty-two months (range, thirteen to 114 months). Fifteen injuries were purely ligamentous, and thirty-three were combined ligamentous and osseous. Patient outcome was assessed with use of the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) midfoot score and the long-form Musculoskeletal Function Assessment (MFA) score.
Results: The average AOFAS midfoot score was 77 points (on a scale of 0 to 100 points, with 100 points indicating an excellent outcome), with patients losing points for mild pain, decreased recreational function, and orthotic requirements. The average MFA score was 19 points (on a scale of 0 to 100 points, with 0 points indicating an excellent outcome), with patients losing points because of problems with "leisure activities" and difficulties with "life changes and feelings due to the injury." Twelve patients (25 percent) had posttraumatic osteoarthritis of the tarsometatarsal joints, and six of them required arthrodesis. The major determinant of a good result was anatomical reduction (p = 0.05). The subgroup of patients with purely ligamentous injury showed a trend toward poorer outcomes despite anatomical reduction and screw fixation.
Conclusions: Our results support the concept that stable anatomical reduction of fracture-dislocations of the Lisfranc joint leads to the best long-term outcomes as patients so treated have less arthritis as well as better AOFAS midfoot scores.