While Newton is hoping that rest and rehab will keep him off the operating table, the injury often requires surgery and a lengthy recovery process that includes a hard cast for up to two months.
In Carolina's third preseason contest earlier this summer, Newton was taken down by Patriots defensive tackle Adam Butler and injured his foot. Newton was able to play in the season opener, but he re-aggravated the injury in the team’s next game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
This season, the quarterback has struggled with running and hasn’t done much of it, likely due to the Lisfranc injury, which impacts the foot. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, the joint injury is rare, complex and often misdiagnosed, so you’re not alone in wondering what exactly it is. Newton’s injury was initially thought to be a minor foot sprain.
The injury varies from a mild sprain to a fracture or dislocation and symptoms include pain, swelling and the inability to bear weight. According to Cedars-Sinai, it is a type of injury to the bones or ligaments, or both, in the middle part of your foot. In a Lisfranc joint injury, there is usually damage to the cartilage covering these bones.
In the middle of your foot, there is a small cluster of bones that form an arch, explains Cedars-Sinai. Those five long bones, called the metatarsals, extend to the toes. There are also smaller bones in the grouping, the cuboid bone and the medial, middle, and lateral cuneiform bones. All are bound together by tight connective tissue that holds your foot bones in place and give the joint stability, particularly your arch and transferring force from your calves to the front of your feet.
A fall that involves twisting, such as what happened to Newton, may break one or more of the bones, or shift them out of place — that is a Lisfranc injury, also called a tarsometatarsal joint injury. The injury gets its name from a French surgeon, Jacque Lisfranc de St. Martin.
CBS News reports that a Lisfranc injury could be very serious for the athlete, as it could not only result in him not playing this season, but his running ability could be hindered dramatically for the rest of his career if it's severe enough. There are different categories and levels to the injury depending on the direction of the displaced metatarsals and their degree of displacement.
According a 2018 study by the National Institute of Health (NIH) athletes in the NFL and rugby players have high rates of Lisfranc injuries. They note that the rates of players returning to the field have been favorable, but that a thorough assessment of post-injury performance has been lacking.
At this time, the level of Newton’s injury remains a mystery.
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