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Pilon Fracture Lawyer


The lower leg comprises two bones, including the fibula (smaller bone in the leg) and the tibia (shinbone). In between the fibula and the tibia, a small foot bone functions as a hinge known as the talus. The ankle joint is made up of all three bones coming together. Some of the serious injuries that may permanently affect the ankle joint are fractures of the pilon. This type of fracture occurs when there is a break at the bottom of the shinbone and involves the ankle joint and its weight-bearing surface. Surgery is often necessary to repair the broken bone and restore it to its normal position.

After an accident, those involved may suffer traumatic injuries such as pilon fractures. If you have been hurt, you deserve full and fair compensation for damages incurred. Contact our personal injury attorneys in Sacramento for free, friendly case advice at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.

Regardless of how severe a pilon fracture suffered in an accident is, fair compensation may be possible with the assistance of an attorney who is experienced in handling personal injury cases. Our law firm has helped those who have suffered serious injuries in crashes, including pilon fractures, since 1982. We are here to assist you and your family through this difficult time. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of a Pilon Fracture?

The symptoms of a fractured pilon may depend on the severity of the injury. These may include but are not limited to:

  • Bruising of the ankle and leg
  • Inability to place weight on the foot
  • Severe soreness and pain to the touch
  • Swelling of the ankle and leg
  • Visible deformity of the ankle
How is a Pilon Fracture Treated?

Most cases of breaks in the pilon may not require surgical intervention if the tibia bones are aligned properly. Some of the non-surgical methods for these bone fractures may include:

  • Boots or casts once the swelling has gone down
  • Medications for the management of pain after surgery
  • Splints to stabilize the ankle
What are the Potential Complications of a Broken Pilon?

A fracture of the pilon may lead to some of the following complications:

  • Blood clots from the immobilization of the ankle and leg for some time
  • Infection in which may require changes of the dressings, treatment with antibiotics, or follow-up surgery
  • Issues in the healing of wounds
  • Failure of the bone to heal properly (nonunion) in which may require surgical intervention
  • Nerve or blood vessel damage that may occur from a fractured pilon or during surgery
  • Pain from the screws and plates used in the surgery
  • Posttraumatic arthritis of the ankle resulting in chronic pain
  • Stiffness in the affected joint

The risk of complications may depend on the nature of the injury and whether the patient has pre-existing conditions. This is why it is essential to follow orders from the treating physician to help reduce the possibility of complications. Failing to follow doctor’s orders may impact the patient’s health and their ability to recover compensation if the injury is related to an accident.

How is a Pilon Fracture Diagnosed?

A thorough physical exam and evaluation of patient history are necessary for helping the physicians with dictating treatment methods. After the doctor has discussed the patient history and symptoms, they will perform a thorough exam by:

  • Examining the ankle and lower leg, inspecting for any lacerations from the injury, and gently applying pressure on various areas to diagnose and classify pain
  • Evaluating whether the patient can experience sensations throughout the foot and move the toes. In some cases, there is the potential of nerve damage at the same time that a bone fracture occurs
  • Checking the pulse of the foot at key points to ensure whether there is good circulation to the ankle and foot
  • Inspecting the ankle and foot for swelling. When and if surgery will be performed will depend on the amount of swelling the patient is experiencing
  • Determining whether the patient has suffered any other injuries by conducting an examination of the rest of the body

Comorbidity, such as smoking and diabetes may increase the need for revision surgery and the potential of overall complications.

What Factors May Determine the Severity of a Fractured Pilon?

Several factors may determine the severity of the injury, including:

  • The number of breaks
  • The size and number of fragments of a broken bone
  • The degree each broken bone fragment is displaced. In some cases, the ends of broken bones may align properly. In severe cases of bone fractures, the pieces of a broken bone may overlap each other, or there may be a large gap between the broken bone fragments
  • Trauma to soft tissues in the affected area, such as skin, tendons, and muscles

When a bone is fractured in a way that causes fragments of the bone to protrude through the skin or there is a penetration of the wound down into the fractured bone, it is called a compound or open fracture. This type of broken bone is often severe because an infection may occur in both the bone and the wound once there is a break in the skin. Immediate medical care is necessary for the prevention of infection.

Surgery of a Fractured Pilon

If the patient presents with significant blisters or swelling, the physician may delay surgical intervention until the swelling has gone down. This is done as the patient may experience issues with the incision or increased risk of infection when surgery is performed too early. Depending on the time it takes for swelling to settle, a doctor may delay surgery for two weeks or more.

The treating physician may place the patient’s ankle in a splint until the time of surgery. In other cases, a doctor may recommend a small surgical procedure to protect the ankle while awaiting a second one. Another reason why further surgery is often required for pilon fracture cases is because there may be problems with bone healing. Healing of the foot is generally promoted through surgery involving the placement of a bone graft in the break. The bone graft may be sourced from an allograft (donor) or autograph (patient’s own bone). In some cases, new screws or plates may be necessary.

Outcomes of a Broken Pilon

When a patient can return to normal daily activities may vary on many factors. These include activity level, the severity of the injury, and whether the patient has medical problems or other injuries. To aid in the maximization of patient abilities, the treating physician or physical therapist may guide the patient to slowly progress into more strenuous activities.

If the patient has an occupation that requires manual labor, they may require four to six months of physical rehabilitation before they are granted a full duty release. If the patient participates in sports-related activities that involve high impact, they may resume normal activity six months after the injury or surgical procedure. The patient can experience limping because of weakness, discomfort, and stiffness from the fracture for several months. Improvement of symptoms may continue for up to two years after the broken bone was sustained.

Protecting Your Rights After an Accident

A bone fracture is not a minor injury as it may prevent a person from enjoying hobbies, completing daily tasks, and working. If someone else’s negligent acts caused an accident that resulted in a pilon fracture, an injured party may seek financial recovery of medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering, and more. Details on the claims process are included in the video below.

How Pre-Existing Conditions May Impact a Bone Fracture Case

If a person who was hurt in an accident has a pre-existing condition, it may impact any bodily injury claim they may make with the insurer. However, that does not necessarily mean a claimant cannot seek compensation for an accident aggravating a pre-existing condition. The injured individual has the burden of proving that the other party or entity’s negligent act worsened their medical condition. This may be challenging as opposing counsel may look for ways to reduce the claimant’s damages. They may attempt to do so by using any detail other than the at-fault party’s negligent acts to blame the injured party’s physical complaints.

After an accident, a patient needs to discuss any pre-existing condition they may have with their doctor. The treating physician may work with the patient to create a treatment plan that is best suited for their pre-existing condition exacerbated by the crash. Medical records may be a useful form of evidence in establishing that the collision worsened a medical condition. This is essential when bringing a personal injury claim.

Knowing how pre-existing conditions may affect the value of compensation awarded in the case can help the claimant stay protected. This is one of the various reasons it is essential to work with a personal injury lawyer who has years of experience handling bone fracture cases. An attorney will know the best way to gather evidence to establish liability on the part of the negligent party and prove that a pre-existing condition was aggravated because of the accident. This process requires an in-depth review of medical records and extensive research, which should be left to the best injury lawyer to handle.

Contact a Pilon Fracture Attorney Today

If you have suffered a pilon fracture in an accident caused by another party or entity, you may seek a financial recovery of medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other associated losses. Our personal injury attorneys can help you better understand your rights and potential options for compensation from negligent parties and difficult insurance companies. Contact our law firm today to receive free, friendly advice at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.

Photo Source: By “cottonbro” via Pexels

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