Lisfranc injury: Refined diagnostic methodology using weightbearing and non-weightbearing radiographs

Jan de Bruijn, Noortje C. Hagemeijer*, Quinten G. H. Rikken, Jad S. Husseini, Jirawat Saengsin, Gino M. M. J. Kerkhoffs, Gregory Waryasz, Daniel Guss, Christopher W. DiGiovanni

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: To compare diagnostic parameters for Lisfranc instability on WB and NWB radiographs and to assess the inter-observer reliability of a standardized diagnostic protocol. Patients and methods: Patients who had undergone surgical treatment for subtle, purely ligamentous Lisfranc injury with both WB and NWB post-injury, pre-surgery films (n = 26) were included in this multicentre, retrospective comparative study. Also included was a control group (n = 26) of patients with isolated fifth metatarsal avulsion fractures who similarly had both WB and NWB films. Multiple midfoot distance and alignment measurements were used to evaluate the Lisfranc joint on both WB and NWB views. To evaluate interobserver reliability, measurements were made by two independent observers across a cohort subset. Results: When comparing the NWB views between groups, only C1M2 (medial cuneiform- second metatarsal) distance was found to be significantly larger (∆ = 1.35 mm, p <0.001) for Lisfranc injuries. Most notably, C2M2 (Intermediate cuneiform – second metatarsal) step off—caused by lateral translation of the second metatarsal base—was not significantly different (∆ = 0.39 mm, p = 0.101) between Lisfranc patients and controls. On WB views, Lisfranc patients had significantly larger changes to C1M2 distance and C2M2 step-off as compared to controls (∆ = 2.97 mm, p <0.001 and ∆ = 1.98 mm, p <0.001 respectively). M1M2 (first to second intermetatarsal) distance was not significantly different between patients and controls in WB films. Within the cohort of ligamentous Lisfranc patients, C1M2 distance and C2M2 step-off were significantly larger in WB when compared to NWB films (∆ = 1.77 mm, p <0.001 and ∆ = 1.58 mm, p <0.001 respectively). For these parameters, inter-observer reliability scores (ICC) of >0. 90 were found when interpreting WB radiographs and ICC's ranging between 0.61 and 0.80 were found when interpreting NWB radiographs. Conclusion: Using WB imaging for diagnosing subtle Lisfranc instability reveals larger diastasis in the tarsometatarsal joint and has a higher interobserver reliability compared to NWB imaging. Clinical concern for subtle or occult Lisfranc instability in any patient should therefore trigger WB radiographic assessment since such injuries may be missed on NWB views.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2318-2325
Number of pages8
Issue number6
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

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