What is a pilon fracture?
A pilon fracture occurs at the bottom of the tibia at the ankle joint, and often involves a fracture of the fibula as well.
What causes a pilon fractures?
A pilon fracture is often caused by high energy trauma such as a motor vehicle accident or fall from height.
What are the symptoms of a pilon fracture?
The symptoms of a pilon fracture include extreme pain, swelling, bruising and inability to walk. The affected leg may also be crooked or misaligned.
How is a pilon fracture diagnosed?
A pilon fracture is diagnosed with medical history, thorough physical examination and imaging studies. X-rays will be ordered. MRI and/or CT scans are often useful in further evaluating the fracture.
How is a pilon fracture treated?
Pilon fractures require immediate medical attention.
A pilon fracture occasionally may be treated conservatively with rest and immobilization in a cast or splint.
Surgery is necessary for the majority of pilon fractures in order to minimize the risk of long term pain, arthritis and deformity. This can include fixing the bone with plates and screws followed by immobilization and progressive physical therapy.