A Lisfranc injury, often just simply called a midfoot injury, is where one or more of the metatarsal bones become displaced from the tarsus. These injuries are often caused by unintended impact damage. The foot is flexible and changes with the surface that it stands on, but it must also remain supportive, meaning that instead of splaying, the metatarsal foot bones will dislocate in order to prevent from completely breaking if they can. For example, athletes who know the pain of jumping hard on pavement while bare foot will be familiar with the midfoot pain of the foot bones attempting not to completely break from the impact. Lisfranc injuries are often under diagnosed, but this type of injury can include painful fractures and ligament sprains that are not serious enough for a foot cast, but no less painful. Yet, with a simple kinesiology taping technique called the Herringbone pattern, they can be easy to treat at home.
By using kinesiology tape to treat midfoot injuries opposed to a typical bandage, it provides the midfoot the ability to still move naturally, but provides support at all times, even while the athlete is sleeping. However, the tape helps hasten the healing process by preventing the midfoot joints to engage in extra motion. In the unique Herringbone pattern, the tape pulls the metatarsals upwards towards the metacarpals and inwards towards the center of the foot in a technique that supports the injury, limits pain, and prevents any superfluous motion that will exacerbate the injury.
How to Tape the Midfoot:
- Start by cleaning the foot thoroughly. If you have had problem getting kinesiology tape to stick in the past, you may need to prep with an extra skin adhesive.
- Keep the foot in a non-weight-bearing position, but place it in slight dorsiflexion, bending the foot towards the shin. Do not excessively pull the foot upwards; the foot should be bent no further than it would normally be by walking.
- Using small strips of kinesiology tape about three to five inches in length, depending on the foot size, lay the stripes down from the toes towards the ankle. Tack the first strip on the first metatarsal near the medial arch, angle across the top of the foot and diagonally upwards toward the outside of the foot and ankle. While it may be tempting to pull the tape as tightly as possible, the skin should only be pulled gently upwards in order to provide support. It should not be painful.
- Next, repeat the same pattern on the fifth metatarsal, pulling a strip of tape across the top of the foot and ending on the inside first metatarsal arch area.
- Repeat this pattern on each side of the foot, moving upwards to the ankle with three to five strips on each side. The taping should create a zigzag pattern with the tape edges running down the center of the foot, this pattern is known as the herringbone for which this technique gets its name. If taped properly, the pain should be reduced when walking and the foot should feel more secure. If pain is increased, it is likely that the tape was put on too tightly, pulling too much skin underneath. It will need to be taken off and reapplied more gently.
Athletes should keep this tape on even after the injury has healed. The extra support helps keep recently healed ligaments from degrading as they get back out into their sport. Have more questions about treating foot pain or using kinesiology tape? Contact us today to learn what we can recommend for painful Linsfranc injuries, chronic foot pain, or plantar fasciitis as well as sports injuries beyond the feet.