Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Ankle FAQ


What is a "pilon fracture?" My niece is having surgery to stabilize her leg after this type of break.


The term pilon fracture was first used to describe a break at the very end of the shin bone (tibia). The bone is shattered into several pieces. Usually the patient's foot is flat on the ground and a heavy force comes against the lower leg. Both bones of the lower leg can snap.

A pilon fracture occurs most often as a result of a sports injury or car accident. Surgery is needed to stabilize the bone. Healing can take as much as four months instead of the usual six weeks needed for the average bone fracture.

Todd O. McKinley, MD, et al. Incongruity Versus Instability in the Etiology of Posttraumatic Arthritis. In Clinical Orthopaedics & Related Research. June 2004. Vol. 423. Pp. 44-51.

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