When news broke of Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Senquez Golson suffering a severe Lisfranc injury, which will require surgery, most fans felt horribly for the defensive back. After all, he lost his entire 2015 season due to a torn labrum in his shoulder.
There have been varying reports on how long Golson will be sidelined after surgery. Some are saying 4-6 months, while other are more optimistic with a 3 month outlook. Either way, I wanted to find out more about the injury, the surgery and, more importantly, the rehabilitation Golson will now face.
I reached out to Orthopedic Surgeons from Hospital for Special Surgery, team physicians for numerous professional sports teams including the New York Giants, in regards to Golson's injury. See the detailed interview with Dr. Mark Drakos, foot and ankle surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery, below.
(Editor's Note: It should be noted Dr. Drakos has not seen or treated Senquez Golson and his specific injury.)
Golson's Lisfranc injury required surgery, what exactly does this entail, and what is the usual recovery period for such an injury?
It required screws to be inserted in the foot to stabilize the arch. Very often the screws are then removed 4-5 months after the surgery. The recovery from surgery is 6-9 months. For most players, it is a season-ending injury. If it is only a partial injury, then the recovery can be much quicker and only take a few weeks.
When a player returns from this injury, what are the usual limitations in the foot upon return?
It will affect skill position players such as running backs and wide receivers more. This is due to the impact on the arch when cutting or sprinting. The offensive linemen can tolerate the injury more than other players. Some players will put a steel insert into their shoe to help protect the arch after these type of injuries.
What does the rehabilitation look like, and how long will he have to be off his feet before the rehabilitation begins?
The rehabilitation starts with stretching and strengthening and then builds to running. The idea is to strengthen the intrinsic muscles of the foot to help support the arch.
Overall, when a Lisfranc injury requires surgery, how severe is the injury?
In many cases it can be a career-ending injury as it can limit an athlete's ability to plant and cut on the field. However, most athletes do return to play usually the next season if it is an injury that requires surgery.
Golson has had an uphill battle since entering the NFL, and his battle with this foot injury has just begun. As Dr. Drakos outlines, it could be a long recovery from this injury. Only time will tell if Golson will be able to come back from this surgery in 2016.