Pilon Fractures of the Ankle
Article by Dr. Darren R Keiser MD
Pilon Fractures of the Ankle affects the bottom of the shinbone (tibia) at the ankle joint. In most cases, both bones in the lower leg, the tibia and fibula, are broken near the ankle.
Pilon is a French word for pestle, an instrument used for crushing or pounding. In many pilon fractures, the bones of the ankle joint are crushed due to the high-energy impact causing the injury. Pilon fractures may be considered high-energy ankle fractures.
Because of the energy required to cause this type of fracture, 25% to 50% of patients have additional injuries that require treatment.
Many pilon fractures require surgery, but some stable fractures can be treated nonsurgically. Whether or not your doctor recommends surgery often depends on how out of place (displaced) the fractured pieces of bone are. If the pieces are aligned and stable, nonsurgical treatment may effectively heal the fracture.
For patients with significant health problems, surgery may pose too great a risk. Nonsurgical treatment may also be a better option for patients who do not do a lot of walking.
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