Pilon fracture

A pilon fracture is a type of fracture involving the distal tibia. These are considered to represent 1-10% of all lower limb fractures6

Typically occurs as a result of an axial loading injury which drives the talus into the tibial plafond.

Several classification systems exist. Frequently adopted is the one proposed by Ruedi and Algower 5:

  • type I: articular fracture with minimal or no displacement
  • type II: displacement of the articular surface but with minimal or no comminution
  • type III: marked comminution as well as articular impaction
Plain radiograph / CT

Exact features vary with type, but commonly:

  • fractures lines are seen extending into the tibiotalar articular surface
  • oblique fracture components may extend proximally into the tibial shaft
  • depending on the severity, fractures may also involve the fibula

Derived from the French word pilon (pestle), an instrument used for crushing and pounding and usually used with a mortar.

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Article information

rID: 10609
Tags: trauma, cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Pilon fractures

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Cases and figures

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    Case 2: type I
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