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Midfoot Sprain Causes, Symptoms & Treatment Options

The midfoot is the middle region of the foot that connects the back (hindfoot) with the front (forefoot). An injury to one or more of the ligaments that connect these bones is called a midfoot sprain.

Midfoot Sprain Hero Image 2

The midfoot is the middle region of the foot that connects the back (hindfoot) with the front (forefoot). The midfoot bones and ligaments help to form the arch of the foot. The midfoot is supported by five bones: the cuboid, navicular, and the three cuneiform bones as well as a number of ligaments. An injury to one or more of the ligaments that connect these bones is called a midfoot sprain.

A midfoot sprain can occur in different grades, each one classified by the severity of the injury:

  • Grade I: There is stretching and microscopic tearing of the ligaments.
  • Grade II: The ligaments are partially torn.
  • Grade III: The ligaments are completely torn.

One type of severe midfoot sprain is called a Lisfranc injury .


What causes Midfoot Sprain?

A midfoot sprain is usually the result of an injury from cutting and twisting motions of the foot (for example, if the foot is planted while the athlete turns and pushes off).

Midfoot sprains are common in these sports:

  • Basketball
  • Field hockey
  • Football
  • Soccer


You may have a midfoot sprain if you suffered an injury and have the following symptoms in the foot:

  • Pain in the middle and top of the foot
  • Swelling and bruising
  • Pain with weight-bearing

When to see a doctor

If you experience an injury and have symptoms of a midfoot sprain or injury, treat initially using the following steps:

  1. Rest (you may need crutches if your pain is extreme)
  2. Ice the affected area intermittently throughout the day
  3. Elevate the foot as much as you can to decrease swelling

If initial treatment does not relieve pain and/or swelling or if you are unable to bear weight on the foot, make an appointment to see an orthopedic specialist. Your doctor will do a physical examination of the foot and may prescribe the following imaging tests to look for damage to other structures, like a bone fracture:

  • X-rays
  • MRI

Non-operative treatment

Midfoot sprains are mostly treated using non-operative treatments, which include:

  • Resting the leg and using crutches to keep weight off of the foot
  • Immobilizing the foot with a boot
  • Icing the foot intermittently throughout the day
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen, to help relieve pain and inflammation
  • Physical therapy with a licensed professional to stretch and strengthen the foot to prevent recurrence in the future

Try these exercises to help address your condition:

Below is a PDF of the Exercise Program

Midfoot Sprain


Surgical Treatment

Most midfoot sprains are treated nonoperatively. If your doctor finds that you have a more serious midfoot injury, such as a Lisfranc injury , then surgery may be needed.



The time it takes to recover from a midfoot sprain depends on the severity of the injury. Mild midfoot sprains can heal in four to six weeks using conservative treatment methods. Patients who suffer a severe midfoot sprain may need at least three months to recover stability and flexibility of the foot. Full recovery, which includes patients returning to high-impact activities like running and jumping, can take three to six months.