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Pilon Fracture

A pilon fracture affects the tibia (shinbone) and the weight-bearing surface of the ankle joint. In many cases, the fibula is broken as well. The word ‘pilon’ comes from the French for ‘pestle’, used for crushing; this is because the bone is often crushed or broken into pieces in this type of injury.

What causes a pilon fracture?

In many cases, a pilon fracture happens as the result of an impact such as a fall from height or car accident. It’s more common in sports such as skiing. This type of injury can result in a number of fractures (including ‘open’ fractures where the skin is open) and displacements of the bones, as well as injury to surrounding muscle, tendons and skin.

What are the signs of a pilon fracture?

Signs include pain, swelling, bruising, deformity and not being able to put weight on the affected ankle.

How is a pilon fracture diagnosed?

During your first appointment, you’ll have an opportunity to discuss your symptoms with Mr Heidari, who will be able to advise you on the best course of treatment. He may also arrange X-rays and CT scans in order to assess the damage.

What does treatment involve?

If bones aren’t displaced, you may be able to avoid surgery by wearing a splint or cast and following a carefully designed rehabilitation plan, working with one of our physiotherapists.

If your fracture is open, or bones have become displaced, you may need to have surgery to repair and align the bones.

This information is written as a guide to your treatment but it is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Please contact us for advice if you are worried about any aspect of your health or recovery.