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Lisfranc injury: how frequently does it get missed? And how can we improve?

Injury 2007 July
Lisfranc injuries are sometimes easily missed especially if they present in a subtle form. In this study, we have tried to measure the level of accuracy of plain radiographs in detecting this type of injury. We have selected 30 sets of foot radiographs with various diagnoses. Eighteen of them had a Lisfranc type of injury which was confirmed by operative findings or further imaging. These radiographs, together with a small diagnostic questionnaire, were presented to nine senior clinicians. We found that only 11 of the 18 cases (61%) were detected by all the readers. Eight of nine readers (90%) missed one particular case of subtle Lisfranc injury in a diabetic neuropathic foot. One case of a divergent injury was missed by five readers (56%). Another case with a coexistent Frieberg's disease was missed by three readers (33%). The mean accuracy for all injuries was 87% (95% confidence interval (CI) 84.6-89.9%). The mean accuracy level for detection of Lisfranc injury among the whole series was 92% (CI 89-95%). We think that the presence of a strong clinical index of suspicion or the presence of impaired pain sensation, further imaging is a must to avoid missing this type of injury at early presentation, and consequently the long term poor prognosis.

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