Pilon fractures occur at the bottom of the tibia around the ankle joint. Frequently, with this type of fracture the fibula is broken as well. Pilon fractures are often high-impact injuries that may result in the destruction of bones at the ankle joint. They may take place after a fall from a great height, automobile crash or skiing accident.
Pilon fractures cause extreme pain, bruising and swelling. The injured foot cannot bear weight and may be crooked or misaligned. Medical attention is needed immediately. If the fracture is stable, it may respond to conservative treatment with a cast or splint. However, in the majority of cases, surgery is necessary to realign the bones of the ankle. Plates and screws will often be used to stabilize and support the bones as they heal.