About this Pilon Fracture Recovery Site

Hi ,

My name is Zach and I have been going through recovery from pilon fracture surgery since March 20th 2015. I am here to share my story.

If you have suffered a pilon fracture (also called a tibial plafond fracture) or know someone who has, this can be a site for information exchange on this relatively obscure injury.

A NOTE from Sept 7 2017:

Does anyone want to try moving comments in this blog to a private facebook group? I called it Pilon Fractures Suck
https://www.facebook.com/groups/126072184709967/

Feel free to post and comment. We can commiserate, share, learn or teach others so that we do not feel as isolated and alone (this injury is so rare that it is hard to find anyone to talk to about it.)  Click Here to learn more about the injury. Click here to see recent posts I have made. 

How it happened to me:

On March 6th 2015 I embarked on what was to be a three day two night backpacking-by-bike (bikepacking) trip in the deep backcountry of the Ishi Wilderness area  in Tehama county. Our first day was to be 20 miles to Black Rock campground, where we would camp for the night.

We arrived at Black Rock deep down in Mill Creek Canyon at about 4:30 PM on a Friday evening, and the sun was shining on the water under the Mill creek bridge and made a swim seem so inviting…so I decided to jump in. Long story short, I jumped just a little too far to the left, and landed on a shallow spot and exploded my ankle. It was the most disappointing experience of my life and I began to wish I could turn back time just 1 minute and re-think my move. Before the pain set in I ate a hand full of Advil and over the next 30 minutes I was helped out of the water and to a picnic bench where I laid for 7 hours until we the good folks from Tehama County Search and Rescue (thanks guys!) finally reached us. I made it to the ER at about 3:45 AM and began to learn just what a mess I made of my ankle joint. Thats where I learned the dreaded term “pilon fracture” and I will never forget it. As far as I can tell, 1% of the public has ever even heard the word. Its such a rare injury.

MAYBE A NEW HOPE

http://www.hangerclinic.com/bracing-support/adult-le/Pages/Limb-Salvage-ExoSym.aspx
 

https://jtringl.smugmug.com/Browser/Far-Northern-California/Ishi-Wilderness-April-2012/i-mQTwzMB/10/M/IMG_0605-M.jpg

Where I jumped from  (regret sets in every time I see this picture)

April 2015, 1 month after pilon fracture surgery, my friends took me to Monterey CA for the Sea Otter Classic. I was in the wheelchair all day, and pretty sore, but man what a relief to get out of the house like that.

April 2015, 1 month after pilon fracture surgery, my friends took me to Monterey CA for the Sea Otter Classic. I was in the wheelchair all day, and pretty sore, but man what a relief to get out of the house like that.

330 thoughts on “About this Pilon Fracture Recovery Site

    • Hi Ricc. So so! Its been about 1.3 years and im pretty slow moving and painful but i got it bad. Others seem to be doing better than me. What’s your injury date and progress been like?

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    • Hi Everyone and Ricc,
      I am also someone who has a Pilon fracture. Long story how I fractured my ankle, maybe I will tell you all how I broke my ankle in another post because I want to make this post about hope and everything positive possible.
      I had my fracture in Oct 2016 was operated on 12 Oct 2016 and I didn’t know the extent of my fracture because the doctors didn’t say much because I was screaming in pain and I was very scared of getting operated. I have never played any sports in my life , nor went to the gym ever before my injury so, I am not athletic at all .Fortunately I am very thin from birth and didn’t require much exercise and also I am very lazy 🙂
      You can imagine a person like me who doesn’t play or watch sports who have no idea of any athletic activity what horror I must have felt after the operation when I came out with some metal fixators in my ankle. I didn’t speak for one whole month to anyone firstly because of the pain and secondly I just cudnt bear to look at my leg. I was under complete depression and trauma .However, when I read this blog my heart broke and I cried like mad reading what each one of you had to go through. I am really thankful to the person who started the blog, may god bless you with lots of healing and happiness.
      I was on non weight bearing for 6 months. The irony is when I started weight bearing in April 2017 although I had started Physiotherapy by Jan 2017, my Achilles tendon had got shorten and I am mostly walking on my toes cant reach the floor. My muscles have contracted and my ankle is so stiff I just drag and walk there is very little mobility in my leg. Although, I am doing regular physiotherapy now doctors have told me if my leg doesn’t respond to PT, I will have to be operated again to lengthen my Achilles tendon which I don’t even want to think about it . I have a feeling my leg will respond to the PT and go with that determination everyday for my phsyio.
      Going to Work
      Also I didn’t know Pilon fracture is so serious so even with non weight bearing on crutches I started going to work by Jan 2017. I still go to work climbing down 30 stairs everyday, hoping with my good leg holding the railing my house is in 2nd Floor. By the way I live in Delhi, India I don’t have great facilities like lift in my house. My office colleagues have been very supportive and I have been lucky on that front. Otherwise I was completely in bed inside my room from Oct 2016 till Jan 2017 2nd week and it was a nightmare so my little bit of sanity is through my work.
      Been Positive
      I am here to talk about how do we get through this. I am the girl who is speaking up of being brave and strong who cant even bear to see a needle been pierced. In this difficult time when you feel like giving up I found meditation an excellent method to keep the mind positive . I am not here to propagate any religion because I aint religious myself but I had bit of introduction to Tibetan Buddhism before I broke my ankle and when I meditate I am able to keep my mind positive. In Buddhism it is taught that the potential of the mind is immense and if we can stay positive it can impact our healing process. There are two types of meditation one is breathing when you concentrate on the breath and slowly let go of the thoughts, you don’t judge or question your thoughts you just observe and you let go of it. The other is analytical meditation that I suggest its better to start once you learn breathe concentration meditation.
      I met a nun in one of the teachings a long time ago she was in the Himalayan cave for 12 years. You can imagine what kind of temperatures must be out there and she survived in a cave with no heating provision and just her thin yellow robe. There is a book published in her name its called Cave in the Snow by Vicki Mackenzie.If she can survive in the cave with the power of her mind we can all get through I am telling you.
      Also my friend who is doctor told me that the human body has its ability to heal on itself the doctor can only set the bones the healing process needs to be natural.
      Here is a youtube link on breathe meditation


      Especially those of who are professional athlete’s in this post, I am sure you are stronger than you imagine. I know nothing about sports except that I watched football just to watch the players are steaming hot . All I know is I miss wearing my heels so much it is as much as you all miss running, trekking etc.
      If anyone wishes to know about staying positive in Buddhist meditation etc I will be happy to post more. I can also share with you all some very soothing Tibetian mantra chanting’s.
      I am going to pray for you all and myself that we all recover soon and do good work 🙂
      happy healing everyone stay positive !!!

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      • Thank you for posting your story Iaishram. I’m sorry to hear about your pain and your shortened Achilles tendon. That is very difficult to experience.
        I appreciate you sharing your recommendation of meditation. I began going to a meditation group on crutches and it was a wonderful experience. Also at the center i was able to be around sweet people and it got me out of the house. Double benefit!

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      • Heyy, i have a same injury like you and i also do live in delhi.. I want to meet so that we can discuss the injury, i need help from you regarding the injury also PT exercises.. Can you please contact me on whatsapp.,my number is +918802781693

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        • Hi Asif, did you not get some PT education or assistance following your surgery? It seems unusual that a surgeon would leave PT to the discretion of the patient. Has anyone else been turned loose without a regimen of PT?

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          • ESPECIALLY with this injury, every case is different. We’ve all read the very different scenarios and situations presented by each person on this website. Knowing that, it would not be in anyone’s best interest to try to self-prescribe (or use a peer suggestion) for any part of the healing process we’re all going through. That’s my 2 cents. Good luck, Asif! 🙂

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        • Asif I prefer to share here only. I initially had a PT coming at home through Urbanclap because I was very weak after surgery .In India PT is really not an organised sector and finding professionals is really a challenge so either go with the PT in the hospital where you had surgery or else you can try Safdarjung Hospital PMR department too. Their PT was really good I did there for a month but finally they told me PT wont be able to correct my achilles tendon issue and to get a surgery done to release the muscle.

          Also Safdarjung Sport Injury centre had good PT but I guess they take only cases of sports related injury. You can give it a try.

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  1. Ouch! This is a slow process kind of injury for sure. I feel that progress should be measured in 6month blocks. I was sooo impatient… I lost hope several times and panicked that I’d be crippled forever. But now I’m walking well with a custom ankle brace. “ARIZONA AFO” they call it. The brace is super helpful, but I had to make some of my own adjustments like inserttin heel lifts. This took a lot of the poad off the front of the Talus bone where my arthritis is.
    After all the PT and massage and supplements etc… the biggest thing thats’s helped me get better is time plus taking it easy, and exercising the ankle gently and often.
    Are you dealing with wound closure issues or infection? That’s a big issue with this surgery.

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  2. When I went back to see my surgeon at the one-year point, she said “everything is looking really good, but it looks like the joint is collapsing and it’s going to start becoming arthritic hurting really bad soon and you’re going to want to get a specialist to do a fusion or an ankle replacement”
    So I said “how do you mean it looks good? You just said it also needs further surgery” And she said, “it looks good because you didn’t get an infection”
    My takeaway from that was basically that this injury seems to be so prone to infection that if you don’t get an infection you’ve basically had a great outcome. All the pain and discomfort is apparently the standard outcome. I’ll tell you this, my soft tissue looks a lot more normal now. For the longest time my left foot looked discolored, swollen, and generally messed up. Now it looks just like my right foot except for where the scars are. And it doesn’t hurt at night or when I’m sitting down. With an Arizona brace I can walk around (carefully) and I can walk for great distances if I go slow. The longest I’ve gone is four miles. Not an issue. That took about a year to achieve.

    When it’s time to get walking around, I strongly recommend the “AZBreeze” brace by Arizona AFO company . Amazing brace. Experiment with different heel lifts and you might find a great fix when you are ready. I’m telling you give this thing time, don’t judge it today. It will keep getting better even if it never gets all the way better.
    I will post some pictures of how I use my brace and how I modify my boots to fit.
    Good luck and keep a positive attitude because there’s really just improvement with time, and ankle fusion is generally accepted as a great last measure. Watch YouTube videos of people walking with ankle fusion and you’ll be impressed by the normal looking walk.

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  3. So on Sep 10, 2016 my wife and I were finishing up a two week vacation in Flagstaff, AZ with me doing a 104 mountain bike race. Anyway, The race started LeMans style with a run to the bike. From there everything was normal until about 16.5 miles into the first lap. I was on a steep descent with a sharp off camber left hand turn at the bottom. A rider crashed in front of me, trying to avoid him I lost my front tire. I unclipped, put my left foot down which hit a rock embedded in the road. That stopped my lower body and sent me head first onto the lava rock road I was riding.

    When I came to i was on my knees with someone holding my bike and a guy on a hamm radio in front of me. I really wasn’t in pain. My face was kind of numb, I didn’t realize what I had done to my face or ankle. I told the guy on the radio that I just needed to get up and go. He said he had an ambulance on the way but would try to help me up. As soon as I put weight on my left ankle I knew I was in trouble. He helped me out of the way since there were crashes happening around me as we were sitting there.

    Ambulance ride to Flagstaff Medical Center and a visit to the ER. X-Rays showed what the ER Dr. described as a very strange break. The Dr. said she had an Orthopedic surgeon look at the X-rays and he wanted to see me to schedule surgery. I declined and said I would go back to OKC for a second opinion and surgery if needed. Long drive home in the motor home.

    While we were driving home Monday morning my wife got The McBride clinic on the phone and they made room for me the next morning. A visit to Dr. Edmonds at McBride confirmed it is a strange break that would require surgery and a long road. First time I had ever heard of a pilon fracture. The distal end of my tibia, the ankle joint part of the tibia was in a bunch of pieces. This was on Tuesday Sep 13th. surgery was scheduled for the following Monday Sep 19th.

    Surgery went very well according to Dr. Edmonds even though it was much worse than the X-Rays or CT showed. I spent two nights in the hospital before going home which is about 70 miles away from the hospital. Recovery has been on schedule, no real pain. I do take a 5mg of hydocodone at night just to help sleep. Follow up visit on Oct 4th with X-rays showed everything looks great, no infecction. Obviously a long way to go and I hope I can get back to pre break condition.

    This seems to be a very difficult break to come back from. I wish all that read this the best of luck in their journey.

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    • Wow Tim, thank you for sharing that. I just looked up the event …that’s the barn burner? You are a cyclist after my own heart. I love endurance. And that would’ve been a good n hard one. I will check it out, although it sounds like I should get off and walk in the section you described!
      I hope the rest of your body is OK I guess you’re not yourself unconscious? Anyway I’m super glad to hear that your initial recovery is going good. My post surgery experience was a living nightmare. I’m picking up that you’re having a relatively OK time compared to what I went through. I think I had a bad reaction to the anesthesia. I think you may have read but I was out for 12 hours while they tried to get some small parts to stick back together with some small screws, but ultimately had to throw some pieces of bone away. I always wonder where those little parts of people go, did they just go in the wastepaper basket? LOL!
      I’d like to turn this blog and do a forum so there could be crosstalk. I better get on that!

      I thought you were going to say you got your injury during the Lemans start. Anyway if it’s any good news to you I’ve signed up for the 24 hours in the old pueblo in Tucson in February on a five man team and I expect to be competitive. Last weekend I went for a 3 1/2 hour mountain bike ride with 4500 feet of climbing and my left ankle was not the part of me that was complaining:-)

      It’s amazing I can barely walk barefoot, but I put a brace on and I can walk all day long. And I can ride a bike.
      The progress of my recovery went something like this, one month on my back with my foot up in the air, check ups with the doctor all going really really good, permission to go to full weight-bearing, a lot of pain when walking, then Dr. saying the ankle is degenerating, saw a bunch of specialists, got some different brace is made, finally settled on a brace with the good flexed angle built into it holding my toes down below my heel just a little bit, and now I’ve been almost a full year walking with an ankle brace and having a good time. Some people don’t need it from what I hear, some people do, and there’s lots of in between. I plan on getting ankle fusion as soon as possible but we’re expecting a new baby and I thought I would wait until that baby was a little bit easier to take care of, I guess that will be in about 18 years 🙂

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      • Yes, it was the Barn Burner with hopes to qualify for Leadville. Did the DK200 last June, really planned on that again next year but I am not optimistic. Recovery for me hasn’t been bad other than a reaction to Oxy, don’t want that again. Broke a chunk of bone off of my eye socket but nothing needed there. Looking at the scarring on my face I am pretty sure there is some volcanic rock under the skin.

        Really excited to hear you can ride, that helps keep me optimistic. I mean, really glad to hear riding is good. When I first met my Dr he asked if I was a triathlete. Um no. He said good, I didn’t want to tell you that you will never run again. Try to stay on your blog when you have time. I am sure there are people reading that don’t reply, and it helps.

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        • That’s funny, my surgeon asked me the same question, she said are you a runner? And I said far from it, running is something I reserve for the day pack of wolves jumps out of the bushes, she said good because you’re never going to run again. And then that actually broke my heart, because while I’m not a fan of running long distance, I do enjoy running across the street, running and playing with my son, and generally being nimble.
          Ankle fusion is the pot of gold at the end of this very jacked up rainbow. And I can do it anytime, I can use every last mile out of this bad ankle and then bail out and get it fused.
          I should note that I made myself a custom ankle brace and bought a longer travel bike. I cast my foot in plaster and then made any epoxy/ fiberglass brace that I ace bandage and tape to my foot and ankle so my foot feels like it’s in a ski boot, but it’s low profile enough to fit in a mountain bike shoe.

          I wear logger boots and hiking boots day-to-day with the Arizona AZ Breeze brace and im low pain all day. Got to baby the knee though. Standing and walking with the immobilized ankle can transfer strange loads to the needy and I got a remember to keep my knee a little bent and not lock it out -that seems to help.
          Lots if PT and I had to search for a good therapist because there are some people out there that don’t seem to get it, I finally found somebody who seems like a real scientist and helped me quite a bit with mobilizing the rest of my foot and understanding how my knee and hip can be affected.

          I was so sensitive to the Oxsee code own type drugs that I did my entire recovery on Tylenol. I took the maximum recommended daily dose and got through the whole thing with that and ice. Deoxy gave me nighttime hallucinations (auditory hallucinations with insomnia)
          The doctor said that was good because most people get addicted through this process anyway because it’s typically a huge dose of daily opiates. She said that because I’m an endurance cyclist I probably have a better tolerance for pain. That made me pretty proud actually!!

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      • Congratulations on the new baby! Yes, it was the Barn Burner with hopes of getting into Leadville. I mostly do endurance stuff too, did DK200 this year don’t think that will happen next year. Let me know how your race goes. Good luck.

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  4. I had a bad mountain bike accident that resulted in a pilon fracture Oct 2012 (broke the other ankle at the same time but not nearly as bad). Four months non weight bearing, then aggressive PT to get me back was going well. I was walking slowly and not feeling much pain. 6 months post injury woke up one morning to a swollen and sore ankle. BOOM! got a staph infection. Another Week in the hospital and then 5 weeks with a PICC injecting vancomysin into my heart and I was cured. Bad experience for sure but I was determined to get back to my active lifestyle. All was good for another 6 months, was riding my mountain bike quite hard and then I slowly started feeling pain when first standing up in the morning, very stiff, took a bit to “loosen” up the ankle. Started getting worse and worse and now every time I relax my foot while laying down it locks up and I have to use a special technique to “unlock” it. Anyways, I still play as hard as i ever have, lots of mountain biking, spearfishing, kneeboard surfing, just have to adjust to the new normal of my disability. It is a bummer to know you will never run again, precludes you from a lot of activities and spots, but oh well! All I want to say is don’t give up, it will be painful, you are not and never will be the athlete you were before, but just keep moving, literally and figuratively.

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  5. I had a bad mountain bike accident that resulted in a pilon fracture Oct 2012 (broke the other ankle at the same time but not nearly as bad). Four months non weight bearing, then aggressive PT to get me back was going well. I was walking slowly and not feeling much pain. 6 months post injury woke up one morning to a swollen and sore ankle. BOOM! got a staph infection. Another Week in the hospital and then 5 weeks with a PICC injecting vancomysin into my heart and I was cured. Bad experience for sure but I was determined to get back to my active lifestyle. All was good for another 6 months, was riding my mountain bike quite hard and then I slowly started feeling pain when first standing up in the morning, very stiff, took a bit to “loosen” up the ankle. Started getting worse and worse and now every time I relax my foot while laying down it locks up and I have to use a special technique to “unlock” it. Anyways, I still play as hard as i ever have, lots of mountain biking, spearfishing, kneeboard surfing, just have to adjust to the new normal of my disability. It is a bummer to know you will never run again, precludes you from a lot of activities and spots, but oh well! All I want to say is don’t give up, it will be painful, you are not and never will be the athlete you were before, but just keep moving, literally and figuratively.

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  6. Heyy i have the same problem like you…i can walk perfectly fine with heal…and i walk on feet punches like you…its been 2 years…can u tell me about the exercises…actually i want to know so many things from you…can you give me fb id or maybe whatsapp…i need to talk tou you…its really urgent…i dont feel pain…its alright bt theres very little dorsiflexion …

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  7. In the early morning hours of 10/23/2016 I wasn’t feel well and decided to go downstairs to our living room (we live in a tri-level). We have floating staircases where the wall stops and there is one more stair after that. Well, being tired and not paying attention, I missed the last stair and when I landed my ankle rolled and I ended up with a Pilon fracture. I screamed for my husband and we went to the emergency room. I’m not really sure how I managed to walk to the car but I did.
    At the ER they did x-rays and the doctor came back and said that I would need surgery that coming week, the sooner the better. We meet with my surgeon on Wednesday and was scheduled for surgery on Thursday. I’m deathly allergic to narcotic pain meds, so from Sunday to Thursday all I could take for pain was Tylenol. For surgery and post-op I was given a nerve block ball that was fantastic.
    I had my 2 week post-op appointment on 11/9/2016. Surgeon has said everything looks great and healing very well. 4 more weeks non-weight bearing instead of 6. So if everything stays on track December 7 I will be allowed to start bearing weight with my boot and crutches.
    My ROM exercises are going well, but I tend to over due it at times. I had a little incident the day before last, where I got unsteady on my crutches and put my foot down to catch myself, I did have my boot on and I wouldn’t say it was painful, but felt really weird and scared me to death.
    I work as a corporate accountant so I’m able to work from home, but being stuck in the house for so long is starting to drive me crazy. I’m waiting for the day I can get out and do what I want and to be able to drive again.
    I’m getting the impression that my 1 plate and 3 screws is on the milder end of a pilon fracture. I have had very little swelling and pain since surgery and I’m hoping and praying recovery stays on track.

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    • Thank you for sharing your experience here Jennifer I believe that everything we share help somebody else with understanding and not feeling alone in this injury. I wish you the best of luck and keep us updated with any changes that you feel would help others to know about.

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      • Update: So as well as everything was going it took a turn for the worse very quickly. Went in for my 4 month post op appointment only to learn that the top screw and the bone were not getting along well and the screw was moving. They scheduled surgery March 16 to remove all the screws and the plate. All three screws were broken and I didn’t realize how bad everything was hurting until I woke up from the second surgery. My ankle has felt so much better. Swelling is still as issue, especially when snow storms are coming in. I’ve been told because both major tendons had to be surgically repaired to expect the swelling for a good couple of years. Despite the swelling I’m walking much better and I’m hoping it keeps improving 🙂

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  8. Hi,
    I was just came upon your site. I suffered an open pilon fracture of the tib/fib in April 2012 from a horseback riding accident in Malaysia. I had 2 surgeries in Kuala Lumpur before flying home after 16 days in the hospital. (a very reputable and amazing hospital).
    After I returned to San Diego, osteomyelitis (infection…your doctor was right!) set in and I ended up having 10 surgeries over the course of 2 years. Several times we discussed amputation and I always said no. I ended up with 9.5 cm of bone removed from my tibia, fixator for 4 months. 2 picc lines in my arm for IV antibiotics, and then a titanium rod and bone grafting. All in all, I was non-weight bearing for over 2 years before starting rehab. I had 100% atrophy in my left leg and needed to completely learn to walk again. Plus several joints were frozen. I say all of this to tell you that, a little over 4 years later, my life is practically normal. Yes, I have some pain when I do too much and nerve damage….but I’m walking, working out, hiking, skiing and have been on a horse! It was long and painful and scary…but be patient. Keep moving, listen to your body but push yourself. You can do this!
    And, to your point that nobody really understands the severity of this injury…you are right. I can’t tell you how many times people would tell me about their “broken leg” and how bad it was. Unless you’ve been there….you don’t really get it. Hang tough!

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    • Wow what a great comeback story from such a scary and long experience! Thank you for sharing this. What a sense of hope this brings!
      My joint is behaving much better month after month but I am always nervous what lays ahead. I have nobody to gauge my experience by. But your story makes a lot of sense to me!
      I hope others benefit as much from this too!

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  9. Update, on Tuesday Nov 22, 2016 I was cleared to ride my bike on the trainer for 10 minutes a day with no resistance. All went well, my Dr. called me Sunday to check on my progress and since all was well he gave me permission to go to semi weight bearing with crutches on Dec 5th and walking in the boot without crutches Dec 12th. I go back to the Dr. Dec 20th hopefully to be released for PT.

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  10. I never thought I would find anyone else who had a pilon fracture! In fact, I had my accident just a couple days after yours. On May 26, I was vacationing on the Oregon Coast when I fell down a VERY steep hill. Instant pain. Pain so bad I wanted to vomit. I couldn’t even look at leg, because I figured with that kind of pain, my leg bone MUST be sticking out. I was taken my ambulance to the local hospital that informed me I had just a minor sprain. When I arrived home to Washington a couple days later I noticed my ankle was turned inward and the pain and swelling was only worse. After the ER trip, I found I had broken my tibia. After more x-rays I was told I had a pilon fracture and was placed in a plaster cast. I was told no surgery was needed. After 4 weeks I was told my bone was healed and was given a boot. Even after physical therapy I never regained all movement and have always had a dull ache, and a horrible balance. I had been informed I had torn several ligaments so I finally had a follow up MRI last week. Come to find out I had a pilon fracture including my tibia AND my fibula and cracked my talus, along with the torn ligaments. I have been reffered to a podiatry clinic for a brace to see if that helps my stability. I’ve been told I probably will never run or jump again. Even the sound of running or jumping makes me think of the sounds and feelings I felt when I broke my leg. Just that cracking tearing sensation makes me NEVER want to run, jump, or look at a hill again!

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    • Wow thank you for sharing your story! I am not here to give anybody any advice, but your story makes me feel compelled to share at least this : The only recommendation that I feel qualified to give you is to find yourself and ankle specialist who other orthopedist says are the top of their field …and go see them.
      It sounds to me like you’ve gotten a lot of pretty so-so diagnosis. This ankle is handled by very few orthopedists because it’s so complicated.
      I really hope you see an ankle specialist soon. If you’re ever in the Bay Area there are a few. Worth paying out-of-pocket for the visit.
      Good luck!!

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  11. Hi fellow pilon friends,
    I truly understand where everyone is coming from.
    Sept. 5th 2014 two days before my 40th wedding anniversary, I was fixing a leaking roof vent on my roof. When I went to get off the roof, the ladder moved and I ended up jumping. The Olympic judges would not have given me a “10” for my landing. I ended up with 21 screws and two long plates in the tibia and fibula and many months of misery. I was in a wheelchair for 4 months and a boot for 4 more. I was able get back to playing golf in about a year but the ankle was still very sore and a lot of swelling. I tried many braces but none really helped, I took a lot of aleve which did help to take the edge off.
    In October of 2016 the pain was getting so bad I had to use crutches to get around and my quality of life was going down hill and fast. I was starting to get hip and knee pain along with some back issues from compensating and limping so much.
    The cartilage was just destroyed and the post traumatic arthritis was getting worse, it was bone on bone on the x-ray.

    The surgeon said I had two options and I absolutely did not want to get an ankle fusion.
    So I opted for a (STAR) total ankle replacement at the end of November. Three weeks out from the surgery and things are looking and feeling better with much less swelling. I should be back in a boot and starting to put some weight on it next week. The doctor had to lengthen the achilles tendon and do some other ligament repair. So now I am down to 11 screws and 1 plate in the fibula. My only goal is to walk without pain.
    One thing the doctor did say about pilon fractures, the data points out that the patients seem to go back in for an ankle fusion or replacement in about 2 years when the injuries were severe and the cartilage was heavily damaged.
    One more thing, if you are considering a replacement, pick you surgeon very carefully.
    Try to get one that specializes in ankle replacements and has done a high volume of them.
    I chose the replacement first because once a fusion is done there are no options left and patients can and do get arthritis later on.

    I hope this reply helps anyone suffering with a Pilon fracture and hopefully, everyone can start this New Year off on the “RIGHT FOOT”

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    • Wow!!! Tom I cringe just thinking about what that landing must have felt like. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I was very curious about getting the ankle replacement and my local ankle specialist Dr Mann, was one of the co-authors of the STAR study getting it approved by the FDA. He looked at me and said no good for me because I’m 41 and very active he said I would probably wear out the bushing twice before I died (sick thought imagining trying to just reach death as an ankle damage management goal!) and he did not like the idea of to doing any extra surgeries . So he recommended fusion.
      I have a baby on the way so I’m not going to do any surgery for a while but right now I’m able to get by with my brace.
      You’re the first person to reply that has had the ankle replacement. I would love to hear more about how it goes. Frankly I still am really wishing for it.

      Like

      • Hi Pilonzach,
        When I landed, I blacked out for a short time. I lifted my leg and my foot and toes did a 180 pointing back down to the ground. The only thing holding it together was the skin and ligaments. I was very fortunate that the skin was not broken.

        You reach a point where you have to make a decision because the pain was too much. I am 66 and most of my high sporting activity days are over. I was happy when the doctor told me I would be able to walk, play golf, swim and bike with much less pain. He said they are getting 10-15 years out of these replacements which I will gladly take. I don’t even know if I will make it into my 80’s. Sometimes the plastic fails which can be replaced since it is not cemented in without too much difficulty. And if it totally fails you still have the fusion option. My doctor (James Cottom) in Sarasota has done over 400 and trains other surgeons on how to do the procedure
        With you being at 41, you have many more years to go especially if you want to grow up with your children. As I have found out, arthritis becomes a major and I mean major problem in these types of injuries.
        Try and hold off as long as you can and I will try to keep you updated on my journey. I know what you are going through because it never goes away and I wish you well.
        Good luck.

        Like

  12. The last two weeks have not gone as planned. X-rays show that healing is great but I still have considerable pain when trying to put weight on it. I was supposed to be walking out of the Dr’s office today without boot or crutches. I still have pain similar to the morning I broke it when I put more than about 50% weight on it. So the Dr’s new plan is just add weight as it is comfortable and hopefully in a few weeks I will be full weight bearing. Crazy thing is, I can ride a bike on a trainer with very little discomfort.

    Like

    • Hi Tim. That reminds me of the visit that had where I expected to go home with a smile and instead hobbled out trying not to cry. That day when the doctor said that the progress was reversing itself. So devastating. You know there’s so much in my ankle that feels like nerves getting pinched inside part of the joint and I wonder if that could be the reality… That some tissue after the surgery is just getting squeezed in there that’s not supposed to and it hurts like hell. I hope you can keep your spirit up. I don’t say keep your hopes up, I say keep your spirit up. Hopes don’t allow for bad news but good spirit does!

      Like

  13. Oh my! This sounds a bit like me.

    My accident was during work when a specialty ladder broke a hinge, which sent me plunging about 6 feet to the ground.

    It’s so amazing how fast the brain works.

    I thought of three options if how to land and what my probabilities of not breaking my back were.

    When the ladder hit the concrete footer of the house, I was able to push off and clear being snapped in my back by the ladder, but the result was a Type III Pilon fracture. Ugh!

    I immediately took off my lace up boot. I knew I broke my ankle without question. I was about 12 Mike’s from help, so I got up on my good leg, sized up the distance and hopped to my sedan. Fortunately, it was an automatic.

    I had to straddle the gear select and drive with my left foot while I held my right off of the floor board. The first 10 miles were all washboard dirt roads. I could have passed out then and there from all of that up and down bobbing my ankle did.

    Long story short, that was just over 17 years ago. I still have arthritis. I qualify now for either a fusion or an implant. There are no questions on that issue.

    I can get around but working long hours standing up is very hard on me.

    On the exercises, try to stretch your foot forward as if you are pointing your toes straight at the wall while laying in bed. It may feel like yiur toenails are piling off, and that’s good. It’s supposed to feel that way.

    Keep stretching it like that until you can do it without pain. That exercise helped me with a greater range of motion.

    For me, heat helps the most. I like to soak it in hot water or wrapped in a heating pad.

    If you favor the ankle, yes, your other joints will stress more and ache eventually. Rarely, my left lower back will feel out of place. I would swear it’s my hip, but the doc says if my hip was out, then I’d feel that pain from the front. But it hurts like it’s my hip. Hmm. LOL

    My right knee took a hit too when I fell. The doctors didn’t attend to it at the time of the accident, and I didn’t know it was a problem until I was crawling instead of using the crutches. Yeah, I loved ground zero that much after the fall. Anyway, my knee cap was messed up, but over time it got better.

    My left knee gives me more fits than my right anymore. My right calf is probably half the size of my left calf. The tibia hurts often anymore. It’s a bone hurt further up from the original fractures. I broke my fibia too.

    I was like you with just skin and soft tissue holding it all together.

    Also, like you, riding a stationery bike is nice compared to walking. I’d say, wear a boot with a heel and for boots, the only maker I’ve found where I felt like I was walking on air was the Foreman boot made by P.W. Minor. It’s a USA made boot. Pricey but ooo lah lah!!!

    On the walking, it took me three years to convincingly walk to where others couldn’t see me grimacing from the pain when my nerves would fire off as if I had just dropped off into a three foot hole. Those nerves will take a very long time to find their places again, so be patient.

    It got to the point along the way that about 6 or so times a day my ankle’s nerves would fire off sending me signals telling me I had just broken my ankle again. I would get nauseous and sick to my stomach. It was so bothersome!!!

    I had to make a decision to either use a wheelchair the rest of my life or just grin and bear it and work through it. I forced my way through to the other side.

    Now, I can jog if I want to a little ways. I can race my teenage kids in the Walmart parking lot if I want to. I’ll lose, of course!

    I’m 48. This all happened when I was 31. It’s all good, but most days I’d rather sit than walk. It hurts every day and most every step. I rarely take pain meds for it. I’m just used to the pain asxa way of life.

    I’m really considering ankle reconstruction. I don’t want fusion. I already have joint fatigue. That would finish me off completely! Ugh!!

    Like

  14. Hello there,

    I was a cyclist who got hit by a car in London, and sustained an open IIIB pilon fracture on the 29th January 2007. My injury was fixed using an illazarov frame with minimal internal fixation. I was weight bearing about 10% for the first month, and then my surgeon removed the footplate. We slowly increased the weight bearing, and the frame was removed in July 2007. After that, I had a lot of plastic surgery to reduce the size of the ALT flap that was created to seal the wound.

    In terms of my rehabilitation, I was never on pain medication, but I definitely did overdo it sometimes. And, I was fortunate enough to only suffer from two minor infections.

    Swimming and pilates were the two best activities that helped get me walking after the frame was removed, and I also had another course of physiotherapy about a year later to correct my gait. I also really suffered with shoes, and found that a neutral shoe helps – I wear Mephisto Mobils and Asics Nimbus trainers, with bespoke orthotics.

    It’s now almost 10 years since my accident, and my activities are:

    I swim once a week – about 1 mile
    Go to the gym twice a week – 40 minutes bike, weights and pilates exercises
    1 mat based pilates class
    1 reformer pilates class
    I also walk about 10,000 steps a day

    I can’t hike, or run, or walk on uneven surfaces. Also, if I go shopping and stand on the leg for hours, I find that it can get quite painful by the end of the day, and on a rare ocassion, I find I have to rest for a day so that my ankle can recover.

    I used to be terrified about the future when I was going to the hospital, having a number of different operations (mine lasted for 3 years). And, I really struggled to accept what was happening. So much so, that I ended up on anti-depressants in 2010 because I didn’t realise I wasn’t coping emotionally. But, in terms of my mobility, once I was discharged from hospital, and continued to exercise, my progress continued to improve 5 years post the injury. And finally, 10 years on, I completed a Masters and changed career, and have a great job, go away on holidays, learnt to drive a car that was adapted due to the stiffness in my ankle, and have a great life.

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  15. Hi all you poor people who have had and are still enduring this awful injury (PILON FRACTURE) . Mine happend Aug 16th 2016, I’m a Window Cleaner and I slipped off a sloped tiled garage porch roof, OUCH !!!. As Jeff said its amazing how fast the brain can work, I had a split second to make a decision, go with it or try to have some kind of controlled landing. As my feet slid into the gutter I attempted to jump and land on my feet, I did but my right ankle took all the impact and my ankle exploded on a tarmac driveway, I couldn’t bare to look, I knew it was serious but had know idea how bad until I saw the bones sticking out through the skin….. As bad as it is it makes you wonder how much worse it could have been had I landed different …. Was working on my own out in the sticks, thank God I had a signal on my phone, was eventually blue-lighted to Royal Sussex Hospital Brighton.
    Diagnosis after xray/ct scans Grade III compound ( shattered ankle ! ) also broke the Tibia and Fibula 6 inches up from ankle. After a few hours in Trauma unit I was sedated and my leg/ankle was pulled back into place temporarily and placed in a plaster cast. After a very painful night, next morning I had surgery to realign the bones and woke to find my lower leg scafolded and attached to some kind of vacuum pump. After a week with that I had the reconstruction surgery, two plates and around sixteen screws holing it all together now. Surgeon mentioned that some of the bone fragments had to be thrown away because they were unusable and some of the bone wasn’t even there. Later that day I was transferred to the Queen Victoria Hosp East Grinstead for plastic surgery the following morning to make good the soft tissue damage. I had a large free flap graft removed from left thigh, left me with another surgical procedure around ten inches long and it has been and still is very painful, I’d be interested to hear if anyone else has had this and how long it may have took to settle down ?. Was warned a few times during all this that I could lose my foot particulary if infection were to set in, so far so good !.
    So now I’m 5 months in and was warned, all being well it would be 6 – 9 months before I could expect to make a reasonable recovery. I have had to hop around the house in a lot of pain with a walking frame up until a fortnight ago when I was at last issued crutches, any time out of the house had to be in a wheelchair, and is ongoing !. Latest Xrays reveal the ankle is not fusing as hoped and further surgery is being considered, what that may intail I’m not sure. I can walk a short distance with crutches with equaliser boot on but it is very exhausting.
    To sum it all up my right ankle is still very painfull and swollen, helps to keep it elevated. I have just had an infection on the graft that antibiotics appear to have cleared up. I wake a couple of times every night with aching legs and hips, and my left thigh is extremly painful and stiff, feels like I’ve got a constant cramp that wont go away. This truly is a nasty injury and anyone that would liken it to having and recovering from a broken leg needs to think again.
    How about this !, I had to have a medical assesment by DWP/ATOS on November 30th , they call it a medical but it was nothing more than twenty questions, from that it was determined that I was fit for work and they cut off my pitance of a benefit. What a Joke !!!. Who are these people, they think they can play God and overule my GP’s and Speialist Consultants views. Screw them !!!!!.
    I’ll get there given time, Take Care Folks.

    Like

    • Hi there

      I had an open IIIB pilon fracture, but I did very well post injury. I was treated at Charing Cross in London.

      I’d say that your surgeons and physiotherapist will have a good idea of what you can achieve and when. It’s a complex injury, and they’re the ones with the x-rays and knowledge of your case.

      With respect to having your benefits cut, appeal immediately. I’m not sure if your see I Daniel Blake, the film. But it seems they’ll just cut your benefits, but when you appeal – you’ll win. Most cases that go to appeal are successful. This government just hopes you won’t bother.

      Good luck with the recovery and your benefit appeal.

      Like

  16. Good morning

    I have the fun of being able to be apart of this group.

    My story was my daughters 8th grade trip to havasupai in the Grand Canyon. I jumped of a 30 foot waterfall and hit the bottom with my left ankle. Bam. Shattered tibia, shattered talus and broken fibula. 30 hours later and with the help of some great people I made it to the ER.

    Surgery #1 was external fixation, #2 was the 11 hour repair surgery. The big bummer was the next 5 surgeries due to a rough staph infection.

    Now looking at min of 3 more.

    Question to all here. How is life after ankle fusion? I was an very active athlete. OCR racer. Runner. Mountain biker. Climber. I do not wish to give up but wondering if amputation is a better road.

    All comments welcomed.

    Todd in phoenix

    Like

    • Hi Todd! This sounds very familiar to me! I have not heard anybody say they wish they didn’t get ankle Fusion. But my sample size is very small. My uncle has ankle fusion and plays half court basketball and rides bikes. I’ve been riding bikes very actively with an ankle brace while I’m waiting for my ankle Fusion. They said the brace i wear is a lot like what it’s going to be like when I get the fusion. I think that I could rock climb but I could not reliably take any ground falls because I don’t have the spring action of my left foot to absorb anything I would always land on my heel and I’m sure that would just break the bone again easily.
      From my experience the advice I would have loved to have gotten when I was just post surgery was to put my head down and focus on other things in life and try to get a year under my belt before I make any assessment of what the future is going to be like. For me I took up playing guitar and studying music. There’s a lot that keeps my brain occupied while my body recuperates.

      Like

      • Thank you.
        I do believe this was the universe telling, no screaming, at me to slow down. Right now I am ten months post break and starring down the road of months of Taylor spaceial external fixation. Unfortunately, if staph blows up fusion and metal become really difficult option. Ugh.

        Like

  17. Hi, I’ve spent many nights since my accident reading this site. Some teary and sleepless. Thanks so much to everyone who shared their stories.

    My accident happened the night of November 14th 2016. I was hiking in Joshua Tree National park. We were about 2 miles up at the top of a steep mountain watching the super moon from atop a boulder. Joshua tree is all boulders (despite the name). When we went to leave I jumped off the boulder I was on, about 3-4 feet from the ground. I lost my footing as I jumped and landed all my weight on my right ankle. I knew immediately it was broken. I felt the “crack” some people talk about when breaking a bone and was extremely shocked because I didn’t think a fall like that could cause such a bad break. My right lower leg was noticeably deformed.

    At first I thought I could make a splint or something and hobble down the mountain. I picked up my leg and it was like a noodle, with zero stability, flopping all over the place. My attempt to make a splint didn’t work– Joshua trees don’t have branches so there weren’t any sticks and my sweatshirt didn’t create enough stability. Even the slightest movement was excrutiating, as you know.

    The terrible location made my rescue difficult. Joshua tree has very little cell phone service so my friend had to leave me to hike to where he could call for help. I was alone with my dog in the dark for over an hour. 3 hours later search and rescue arrived. My faith in humanity was restored when some Good Samaritans helped Search and rescue carry me 2 miles down this mountain. In total it was about 7-8 hours from when I broke it to when I arrived at the hospital. The nearest hospital was an hour away. I can’t imagine waiting 30 hours like another survivor mentioned. The hike down was so dangerous that a rescuer was injured. I was so thankful for their effort- I later learned they are all volunteers.

    In the hospital they confirmed I had a badly broken ankle, although they didn’t describe it to me or show me X-rays so at that point I didn’t really understand the severity. It wasn’t til later that everything sunk in.

    I’m lucky to be from Los Angeles, the hospital in Palm Springs said, there’s not much we can do for you here go home and see a specialist. Turns out I live near one of the top orthopedic hospitals in the country– UCLA. It took me over a day to get home and was about 5 days before I saw the specialist. I was shocked at the different things they told me, about how I would walk again but it would be a long road with potentially several surgeries. They were very concerned about my circulation and checked my foot pulse constantly.

    I went straight from my appointment to being admitted to the hospital. The doctor said that was the fastest way for me to have surgery. First I had the calcaneous external fixator traction bar surgery. Due to the swelling and risk of infection, they opted to wait 9 days after that to operate. I was in hospital 5 days after the fixator, went home for thanksgiving, then came back 4 days later for the second surgery– the ORIF. Second surgery was 5 hours and I now have 3 plates and dozens of screws.

    The days after the second surgery were terrible. I was on all the pain meds, I had a continuous nerve block but I was still in excruciating pain. I was enduring the emotional rollercoaster and hallucinations that come with being in a constant drug addled state. It turned out I had compartment syndrome which is extremely painful and loss of circulation can lead to death of the limb. My doctor came in the next morning and ripped my bandage open. It was terrifying but eventually the swelling went down and I recovered. I ended up staying in the hospital for 4 days dealing with serious dehydration that was slowing my recovery. I was in so much pain that I hadn’t been eating or drinking and my heart was feeling the consequences.

    Now I’m 3 months post op. I’ve been completely non- weight bearing the whole time. I’m about to start walking for the first time this week. I’m scared but excited. I’ve made great progress with ROM so I hope that progress will continue. I’m a nurse and I’ve not been able to return to work yet. It’s a job where you’re on your feet all day. I hope that I will be able to go back to it.
    Like most people here I am a very active person. I already was suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis and lupus which I had overcome and became very active. I went from not being able to walk to hiking miles on all my days off. After this injury I had bone density tests done that show I’m suffering from osteoporosis– weakening of the bones which contributed to the severity of my injury. I hope I can be an active person again soon.

    I want to thank you for making this website. You really do feel alone with such a terrible injury. Once the relief of being alive wears off… the depression creeps up. A forum type format would be amazing. Hope your recovery is coming along.

    Like

    • Hi Hannah! I’ve been to Joshua Tree and I can imagine very well how scary it must have been to have this happen to you there. I often reply in my mind how the very instant that I felt my ankle crush I thought of how far from safety I was. I tried very hard to wake up from a bad dream..that is a very desperate situation for the mind to be in. My feeling of panic was subtle as far as my friends thought, but inside I was freaking. I still freakout at the memory of that moment.

      I hope your walking goes well. I hope you have access to some form of counseling to help your mind deal with the uncertainty, fear, loss we deal with. Nobody but another pilon fracturer knows how this is. The general public knows many people who broken their leg and were back to normal in a few months…not crippled for life.

      I’ll work on making this site a forum. Take care!! Look up Dr Ferkel. He is a top LA ankle specialist. My uncle had his ankle fused by him. Ferkel does pro sports players from all over the country im told.

      Like

      • I think the uncertainty is one of the worst parts of the recovery from this injury. Especially because a lot of us are into extreme sports, hiking, climbing, camping… You go from being on top of the world to the bottom of the ocean…. having this injury. Then you have tons of time to over think everything during the recovery. The first few days I kept thinking it was just a bad dream.

        Walking with the boot today was painful but manageable. I’m super proud. Now all I want to do is walk without a mobility device but I’m trying not to over do it. My goal is to someday, go back and hike the mountain again.

        Like

  18. Hello all I just came across this site. I have suffered a trimalleolar fracture including the pilon area, with total of 4 fractures to my ankle and a dislocation, after trying to retrieve a golf ball down an embankment on the other side of the water, really, I know, golfing!?!? I underwent surgery with 11 screws and one plate. Was doing okay for a few months post op, but now I am five months post op with physical therapy two times a week. Moving in the wrong direction recently with increased pain and swelling. I had a CT scan recently. Hoping to hear the results of the CT this week but concerned for several differentials in findings. Dealing with Achilles tendinitis, ligament issues etc and I’m wondering how many went on to have post traumatic arthritis or chronic fracture of the articular surface that did not heal well due to the trauma at initial injury?

    Like

    • Hi Lori. I’m very sorry to hear about your experience. Especially while doing something as safe as golf.

      My experience after being non-weight-bearing for so long that when I got back to building up the strength to walk again it was not long after that that I realize I was making no progress regarding the pain. (7month mark). Actually today is the 2-year anniversary of my injury!
      I feel ive made my best gains from the 1.5 to two years range. The Arizona AFO brace is the only thing i attribute to my low pain walking. Locking out the joint is so helpful!

      Like

    • Hey laurie

      Think about getting the metal out. It may help.
      Take a hard look at diet and supplements.
      Anything that help reduce inflamation may work. Remove foods that increase inflamation.
      Soy. Dairy. Gluten. Just a thought.
      Todd.
      I am just home from surgery number 8. I acquired staph. Hang in there

      Like

  19. Hi Zach and all pilon friends,
    Just a quick update on my STAR ankle replacement due to a pilon fracture which was mentioned on an earlier post.

    I just passed the 3 month mark from surgery. I started putting weight on the ankle with the help of a walking cast at 4 weeks and started rehab at about 8 weeks out.
    So far so good, but this is a very long and sloooow recovery. You don’t notice improvement week to week, it is seen in monthly increments. I still have some noticeable swelling and numbness in the foot and ankle. The pain level is around 5-6 and drops down to about 2-3 after taking some Mobic (Meloxicam). I have been told that the pain will slowly subside and that this is normal. The leg muscles are still pretty weak and thin due to them wasting away while in the cast and the walking boot. It looks like I will have another 6-8 wks of rehab to work on building them up.

    The doctor says everything looks good and my range of motion is about 75% with more improvement to come, hopefully. I still have a slight limp but it has improved dramatically.

    I started hitting some golf balls and hope to start playing in the next couple of weeks. I met another person who had the same surgery as me and was told things really improve at around 6months out…. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

    For anyone contemplating fusion or an ankle replacement, I hope this little update helps.
    I will follow up at the 6 month mark.

    Good luck to all,
    Tom Borella

    Like

    • Thanks for this update Tom !
      Man isn’t time the major factor in all of these talks. Really when it comes down to it this injury is nothing but an interruption in time.
      I find it frustrating how many people get knees and hips replaced with such ease and the ankle is completely different.

      Like

  20. Hey Zach and all of us Pilonians.

    So update time. After shattering my tibia, talus and fibula. I have now endured 8 surgeries. I acquired staph infection after surgery 2.
    The one thing i believe we all learned is patience and endurance.
    I now am the proud owner of a Taylor spacial external fixator. And another year of my life in hold. If repositioning works and no staph then i get the fusion surgery.

    I have run the whole spectrum of this world. 3 second opinions, below the knee amputation and total ankle fusion. Wow.

    My word is just keep moving forward. Dont let this stop any of us. I will run bike and hike with my 9 yr old again. We all will.
    So zach. Thank you for this forum

    Todd

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  21. I slipped and fell on a relatively gentle slope, that unfortunately had been made very slippery from a thick application of paint. I broke the platform, or pilon, into multiple pieces as well as suffering a spiral fracture to my tibia. I am now almost 4 months post surgery. I have two plates, 11 pins, and 2 screws. My big toe is still stiff and numb, I have very limited movement capabilities in my ankle, and have developed post traumatic arthritis. I wasca cross country runner for 25 years, but chose to quit aftr repeated herniated discs. I have instead been hiking mountain trails. Now I can barely manage to climb up and down the stairs in my house. I am becoming increasingly depressed and spend most days in bed or on my sofa crying.

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    • Hi Kathy
      It gets better! It really can get better. Read as much as you can on this site, there are so many of us who went through or are going through the coping process of this horrible injury.
      Watch the ExoSym video, apply to The Hanger Clinic for it when its time.
      4 months felt like forever at that spot. I remember. I was very much planning to be better by then…but alas it takes more time.
      I was on crutches until 5 months, and in a boot through 6 months as i can recall.
      I began to find hope by accepting that i still had more of this world to explore by car and by bike , and not by foot.
      Ankle brace, exosym, heavy boots, bicycle…all help the mind heal. That’s the biggest hurdle…the mind. I have cried and cried… Nobody knows how bad this injury is except those who have it.

      Like

    • Hey kathy

      Take a deep breathe. Yes. Life gets impacted pretty bad. Make sure you have clear communication with your docs. If your having that much pain explore all options on the next steps. You are not that far removed from surgery with a serious break. Time will help.
      Get a knee scooter. Get out of the house even if its just sitting in the grass. People and fresh air will do wonders.
      It will get better.

      Like

      • One thing that I should be very open about is after my injury I started getting some counseling because I was so emotionally devastated. It helped so much to talk to somebody and understand that there is some post-traumatic-stress that I was going through and there was a lot of grieving iI needed to do.
        It may not look like we lost a limb to others, but for all the people suffering from pilon fracture, it does feel like we did. I think that it’s good to read about how people who have an amputation cope with their sadness and depression, there are a lot more people operated on for amputations every day then there are people being operated on for pilon fracture.. Therefore more info available in that category for coping with the “loss of limb”

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  22. Hey Zach,
    Thought I would update since I have been improving. So last post I think was back in December after my last Dr appt. That was 3 months post op and still non weight bearing. I started weight bearing about the 2nd week of January with PT. I went back to the Dr late January and was released from PT and able to walk sort of. 2 months later I am riding as much as I want, I’ve done a couple of 50 mile gravel and MB rides. I am a long way from where I was but improving pretty fast. I still have some pain with every step while walking but riding is mostly pain free except for unclipping my left foot. Time seems to be the big equalizer for those still suffering, be patient but persistent.

    Good luck all,
    Tim

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    • Thanks for this update Tim. I’m glad that you’re able to find the bike is working out well. I have had a lot of great rides and got back on the single speed and the hard tail but I do pay the price when the trail gets choppy.
      I’ve been thinking about going back to Crank Brothers pedals because I found the release of them is really easy. A reason why I went back to Shimano a while ago because I didn’t like my feet coming out so easy. But I’ve got my left SPD pedal pretty much all the way loose maybe a couple clicks type from all the way loose. Because I’m clipping kills me
      I wrote three laps at the 24 hours in the Old Pueblo. My fiberglass ankle brace is a lifesaver

      Like

  23. Hi guys…
    5 weeks ago I fell of a horse while jumping.. my right leg landed first causing a bad pilon fracture.. I had a external fixater on for 2 weeks then I went in hospital for a 6 hour operation 20 screws and 2 plates they had to use to fix it..
    3 weeks now since operation. Life is very difficult bring in my owe with 2 kids and owing 3 horses is taking its toll but thankfully I’m still here..I don’t know how I will recover tbh it’s very scary

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    • Hi Carmen. Thank you for sharing your story. You’re very early into this but what I can tell you from most people’s experience is it gets better…. slowly. And a lot of getting better has to do with acceptance of certain things that cannot be changed about the outcome of this injury.
      Until I could start to see that there’s a lot more good times and good living ahead, even with the bum ankle, I could not get out of the depression I was in. Also something very difficult is many people have broken their leg or their ankle and they think that this is no different. And so they really can’t relate and you’re going to have a hard time getting much sympathy. I got a lot of people who told me old give it 16 weeks and you’ll be good as new. That is very frustrating to have to explain to people over and over again that no I’m going to have a bad ankle forever and ever no. Nobody knows about this injury but us. it’s one of the most infrequent injuries there are as you’re learning it’s one of the worst ways to hurt your self. Most everybody takes getting out of bed, walking across the room, going for a jog , jumping up into the air, or dancing etc for granted.
      This probably is nothing but sadness but give it time and really really really focus on other things. You’re going to read a lot of bad news. There’s really no good news to read so I strongly encourage you to get it out of your system… learn all the bad points… Do mourn your losses. Do consider counselling. Keep an open mind that there may be some amount of PTSD aspects to dealing with this.
      Do be careful not to get hooked on the pain pills. And as my doctor said to me many times do not be embarrassed to admit that you are hooked on the pain pills if it happens.
      Many people get a good number of years of functionality out of this recovery. I did not. But I am doing a really good job of managing the pain and when I wear the right foot where nobody can tell that I’ve got a bad ankle. Take my shoes off and it’s a whole different story!
      Some have it worse than me and some have it better. But the cartilage that is impacted in the fall typically does not survive, heal or grow back. And that leads to osteoarthritis.
      I am pursuing the exosym brace system. It’s a $9,000 device but my insurance supposedly is going to cover most of it. Check out Arizona AFO braces. I really like the a AZ Breeze. (When its time to be weight bearing)
      Make sure that you get a knee scooter because crutches suck.
      When your cleared by the doctors to be out and about and active, for me that took about a month before I was cleared to get off the couch, I also really encourage people to find a CrossFit gym or a small gym that specializes in barbells, dumbells and “functional strength” type exercises. A lot of these can be done while Seated on the floor and you can keep your body really toned witch I found to be a really good thing for me mentally.

      I took the opportunity to get in really good shape by doing a lot of regular exercise which kept my mind on the positive. I also started to learn guitar. I also started to learn about the ankle and how to brace it and how to immobilize it and then because I needed a hobby I made myself a fiberglass brace. I bought all the supplies on Amazon and it went well. For me it just meant taking control of the situation and not letting my mind get stuck in this victimized feedback cycle.
      I just passed the 2-year Mark. I’ve talked to several surgeons about the next steps and they all say Keep going until you can’t keep going anymore and then we’ll take a look at other surgeries. The first surgery consideration would just be to remove the hardware. My surgeon Who came highly recommended at Stanford University said that many people find a lot of comfort comes back to the ankle once the hardware is gone. And that surgery is not very intrusive or invasive.

      I don’t often take this much time to respond to all the people who post here but sometimes it’s really therapeutic for me to just recap my story and kind of revitalize some of the earlier topics that are in other posts. I really appreciate that you posted to the site. Hang in there. Check in often. 🙂

      I did this whole post with voice to text on my cell phone so the typos are probably awful, I will attempt to edit them when I get back to my computer :-).

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    • Hi Carmen,
      I truly understand where you are at. Like Zach said in the earlier post, it does get somewhat better, but very, very and I mean very slowly. I had 21screws and two plates plus the external fixater device in September 2014 from jumping off a roof. I ended up having an ankle replacement this past November because of the post traumatic arthritis got so bad. I am 4 months out from the replacement and I am able to walk a mile, ride my bike 10 miles and play some golf. I am taking some Mobic once a day and that seems to help bring down the pain level. My outlook has improved dramatically.
      I know it is very difficult the first 4-5 months, but you got to be strong. The good days will start to out number the bad ones.
      As most of us know who have had this horrific injury, you come to accept it, try to move on and make the most of it. Hopefully, your cartilage was not damaged too bad and you won’t need a replacement or a fusion. Also, try to find a good PT person who has experience with these injuries.
      Hang in there and try to be patient because better days are coming, best of luck.
      TB

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  24. Hi, I have an update for everyone. I hope that in sharing this some people may get some hope out of it. I’m 4 1/2 months post op. I’m doing very well.
    When I started walking again I was in the boot for about 2 weeks before the doctor told me to wear a shoe. After that, things began progressing very quickly with tenacity and patience in physical therapy. I did everything they told me to do exactly.
    I’ve gone back to work full time – 10 hours a day/ four days a week with some restrictions. I’m not allowed to lift anything over 15 lbs and I have to take a break at least every 2 hours. Otherwise, I’m on my feet for most of the day and it’s definitely not pain-free but tolerable for me (I work in nursing). At the end of my day I have a ton of bruising and swelling, but like I said, I am able to do it. Starting back full time was no piece of cake, I’m not going to lie. At first it was incredibly hard and painful. There were nights where I wondered if I could go on working like this, it was so difficult. I persevered and now it’s starting to get better and better, easier and easier.
    I went on my first actual hike since the injury a couple days ago. It was very mild and some paved terrain but still a milestone moment for me. It was not easy or painfree but I was able to tolerate it. I do not use any pain medication right now. I really am starting to feel like myself again. I also think that it helps that my coWorkers are in the medical field and understand the severity of this injury. They are very patient with my limitations and proud of what I can do.
    I also credit the fact that I have access to some of the best orthopedic doctors and hospitals in the country. My advice is to see out an expert in the field of ankle surgery, or someone who specializes in this type of injury– even if it means delaying surgery. While I was taken by ambulance to a hospital and casted immediately after it first happened, that hospital told me to seek out an expert elsewhere. I didn’t see the new doctor for a week and that was difficult but I’m glad I did.
    I will continue to update you. I do have some pain in areas at the top of my longest plate and there may be additional surgery later on. And I live with a small degree of chronic pain on a regular basis. Right now I don’t have enough of my own bone to live without the metal
    . The hardest part of this whole process is coming to terms with the severity of this injury. I’ve been in denial for many months and finally recently it truly hit me.
    I hope everyone can find some comfort in knowing there is a chance you can be “normal” or close to normal again.

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    • I also forgot to mention I don’t wear a brace but love working with compression socks. I use Mojo Compression socks in super firm– they are amazing.

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    • Wow Hanna! Great results!! At 4.5 months i was still on crutches only beginning to put light weight on the walking cast! Im glad you have this story to tell.
      Keep the good news coming!

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      • I’m so glad you said this. I’m reading post after post of people who have terrible injuries with long timelines but they all seemed so much shorter than what I’m facing. I had to wear my external fixator for over a month and now that I’m 2 months post-injury, I’m told 12 more weeks before we even start thinking of putting any weight down.
        One thing I haven’t seen mentioned is fracture blisters? Am I the only one? My ankle was covered in hemorrhagic fracture blisters. My 2nd surgery was removing them and adding an additional bar to the external fixator. I had to wear a wound vac for 2 weeks after that surgery.

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        • wow man you had it rough! I had big fat fracture blisters but there were no complications for mine fortunately they went away on their own we just had to wait longer.
          how long after the initial injury did you get the plates and screws?

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      • My injury was 03/03. 1st fixator was 03/04. 2nd part plus blister removal was 03/10. Plates and screws 04/05.
        Question now that I’ve read everything here and see that everyone deals with the heel not sitting flat on the ground: how do I wear my boot? It thinks my foot can make a 90 degree angle but it can’t. Do we just walk around with our heels raised up in the boot? lol I’m gonna call my dr too and discuss it but I’m really stumped.

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        • I had a good amount of heel in the boot that I had. It was Bledsoe walking boot. I think what you’re experiencing really needs to be addressed with your surgeon. My heel lifts if you didn’t become a parent until I got the green light to walk without the boot. It seems like there’s a bunch of junk impinging the joint. I’m no doctor obviously but I’ve done enough investigating- part of my problem is there’s a bunch of tissue pinching in the front of the joint, and bone spurs, but you’re not at the point yet that you have bone spurs… but you could have some tissue jammed in the front of the joint and it won’t let the top part of your foot come up.
          Wait till you start physical therapy to take an assessment.
          I can’t completely relate to your situation cuz I wasn’t even allowed to put my foot on the ground for like 4 months but you seem to be allowed to put your foot down already.

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          • I don’t have a walking boot. It’s just for protection not walking and definitely NWB. He told me to keep it on at all times (even sleeping) except when it’s just me sitting peacefully home alone and not doing anything then I can take it off (and when I shower).
            Problem is our shapes don’t line up. I’m calling him now! Thanks, Zach.

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    • I also am recovering from a pilon fracture on Feb 6. Spent a week in hospital with two surgeries, one was 7 hours long. Then to rehab for two more weeks. Had no idea how bad break was and amount of recovery time it takes. Just twelve weeks into no weight bearing. Just getting started with out patient pterodactyl. Initially fell from ladder cleaning windows. I am having pain while sleeping. Are there braces that anyone would recommend after my cast comes off?

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      • Hi Deb. So sad to hear of your injury. You’re not alone here!
        Scroll through the pages and comments and you will find a lot of information and stories that can help you feel a little better and, eventually, hopeful.

        Your doc can prescribe the Arizona AFO if locking out the ankle helps (as it did for me). Trial and error was key in finding what works to keep me mobile.
        Zach

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  25. New update! Still working and doing most of my normal stuff…. however all of a sudden my mid- shin area (the top of one of the plates on the tibia is really bothering me. I saw my surgeon last week for a recheck and she mentioned she was concerned about stress fractures by the top of the plate. Wondering if anyone else has any experience with this issue. She said we would watch it and she probably wants to take that plate out in 9 months to a year….
    Seeing what happens but that area is very swollen today.. I’m getting worried. It’ll be terrible if I got a taste of freedom just to be right back to non-weight bearing……

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  26. Hi Zach!! Wow, I wish I would have found this site sooner!!!
    Have you been able to get the Hangar Clinic’s brace or found out more about its results?? I’m very interested!
    Thanks for your response and thank you for this amazing site! I hope everyone who goes through this injury finds it way sooner in their process than I did!!

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    • Hi Laura!
      Im still in the process of getting insurance to give me the green light. But the clinic says it looks like insurance will cover a big chunk of the cost. I anticipate heading to WA within a month.
      Nervous/excited/anxious is a good description of how i feel!

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  27. Hi I got a Pilon last summer and the doctors told me that I was the youngest(I was17)case they’ve seen for this fracture. They said most of the time they see it in 40+ year old men. So I was wondering if there were any younger people that got this fracture. Also, if they plan on taking their plates out and if y’all already did tell me how your recovery was because I’m looking into getting mine out. Thanks!

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    • I suffered a pilon fracture 10 weeks ag now Feb 2017 and I’m walking on crutches weight bearing as much as I can and have had a circular cage pinned onto my leg for 8 weeks now and saw my surgeon on Tuesday and he said because it’s gone well he aims to take cage off in 8 weeks but said where shin bone meets ankle bone I now have no carterlidge so I may need a 3rd op to fuse them together because it may grind do I want s 3rd op no not really but it will b what it is I fractured my shin in two places and smashed my ankle into bits was on my mountain bike and a car pulled out on me did not look in his mirror or indicate it was the worst pain of my life after 2nd op and they had put the cage on the pain was immense and it came in waves I get all sorts of pain or should I say cramp that does not go to full cramp and pins and needles all day on the sole of my foot all this because of a stupid man in a car I’ve gone frm weight training 4 times a week and 6 a side football and riding my mountain bike 14 miles a day to nothing for ten weeks really sucks but hope to get back to my weights v soon coz I’m starting to feel that bit better each day am starting to put my foot down for longer periods off time still swells a bit and is still uncomftable when it dos this goes red and purple and to b honest I’m shitting my self for the cage to come off coz my ankle is gonna b far frm mobile I’ve also had pins and two plates put in my ankle my scab where metal work was inserted has gone already leaving a red scar in only 8 weeks and all pin sites are clean and infection free but the future worrys me because I was so active my name is Matt and I’m 43 just hope I can go back to normal but no it’s gonna b a long rd and I have no patience span at all 😔Thanks for reading my experience at such an early stage guys x

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      • Hey Matthew thank you for sharing your story. It amazes me how many different prescriptions for recovery we all get. I was not weight-bearing for 5 months and then partial weight-bearing until 7 months, and then at that point I lost my cartilage anyway.
        Sounds like you’ve got more nerve damage than I had, or pinched nerves or something wonky. I had a numb top of my foot but for most of the time my foot/ ankle was actually quite pain-free (after the initial two weeks after surgery.
        One thing is for certain, we all get very different experiences but they’re all pretty much equal shitty 🙂
        All I can say is is that it’s great to have other people to talk to about this because we don’t feel so alone.
        I think I comment on this to everybody: which is just try to get a couple years under your belt and utilize counseling, antidepressants, etc… and stay fit in the gym doing upper body stuff. The gym I was at was a CrossFit gym and these guys knew a lot of ways to work out my quads and hamstrings without putting my feet on the ground.
        The knee scooter was a lifesaver too!

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    • Hi, well I’m 30 and a woman so not a 40 year old man (I was 29 when I fell my bday was a couple months after that) I’m not sure who told you that but if you read and research the stories you will find that the common denominator is our lifestyles, not age/gender. I’m 5 months post op and walking and doing most of my normal things. Dr is talking about removing 1 of my 5 plates in a year, once I have more bone. This injury tends to happen to people who live very active life styles. A lot of people have been in bike or car accidents. I fell 4 feet while hiking. I think really anyone can get this injury. Stay strong- it’s a long road but we are all here to support each other!

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      • I have read in numerous places that the average pilon injury happens to a 35 to 40 year old male. I’m sure that’s what the previous comment was referencing. I don’t believe there was any misogyny meant… of course this injury does not play gender/age favorites. It it happens to folks fall… Those folks who work on ladders, do home improvement, scramble, rock climb, mountaineer or have other adventurous lifestyles.
        In me I call it “Uncle Rico Syndrome”. (from Napoleon Dynamite) living in denial that I am aging and am desperately trying to hold on to my youth! LOL

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  28. Yeah thanks Zach it’s really good to speak to you and others to share your experiences because as you said you don’t feel alone the two weeks I was in hospital was the worst pain and trauma I have ever been through I phoned my partner in tears after the cage had been fitted the evening on my surgery when the nerve block had worn off and I said to her I wish the man who had knocked me off my bike had killed me because I don’t no how much more I can take and if some one had bought me a gun I’d have shot myself that is how I was feeling I was in a very dark lonely place but now 8 weeks out of hospital I’m getting that little bit better each day and with physio every week I soon will b on the leg machines in the gym at physio and the bike yay 😜😜☺️☺️X

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  29. Hey man. It’s currently the middle of the night, my ankle/foot is so sore that I can’t sleep, I’m googling pilon fracture info, and here I find Zach: a guy who suffered his injury on my birthday. Bummer.
    I can’t imagine the 7 hours you waited, my wait was only 2-3 hours but once the adrenaline wore off I went straight to 10 on the pain scale and stayed there until they finally knocked me out for my (first) external fixator surgery.
    My injury was 55 days ago (March 3, 2017) and like most everyone I had never heard of a pilon fracture. Lying on the grass, holding my leg up I was thinking something along the lines of “crap, I broke my ankle. Now I’ll have to get a cast and use some crutches for a couple weeks or whatever.” I had a lot to learn.
    One of the first things I learned was that telling people ‘I jumped out of a tree’ was a good way to get people to make fun of me. But if I give the whole picture and say ‘I was climbing a tree with my little girl and then I jumped out’ then they say ‘awwwww’ instead. This also honestly seemed to impact how medical staff treated me (especially considering the injury took place in New Orleans where they are constantly dealing with injuries related to alcohol and shenanigans).
    I spent 5 days in New Orleans then made the 3 hour trip home, had one more external fixator surgery to add an extra bar and then sat in my living room for a month. It’s now been 3 weeks since my reconstruction surgery (4 plates, 15 screws) and I just got my boot yesterday.
    But guess what? My foot points down. I have zero upward mobility (dorsiflexion). I can’t lay my foot flat on the ground nor inside the boot. So my options are (1) wear the boot with my toes touching bottom but my heel a couple inches raised up and the boot doing all it can to painfully squeeze my foot into place or (2) don’t wear the boot.
    I’m on day two of Don’t Wear The Boot and the fact that I’m typing this at 2:40AM because I’m too sore to sleep seems to indicate that I need to call my Dr and discuss some options.
    Hope all is well. I’m going to read you’re whole site now. Thanks for the outlet!

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    • I so relate. I was laying there thinking “well, this will delay my summer plans but only by 16 weeks or so. I’ll get a cast and heal right up!” But slowly I came to learn how this was a whole different situation. Crippled is a word that I choked on and still can not admit. its so heartbreaking.
      Unless you already have a great ankle specialist working on you, I encourage you to search out the best ankle orthopedists in your area. I I’ve been advised so many times by so many people to keep finding the best specialist and stay away from anybody that does more than one body part. Like an ankle person that also does hips or shoulders or knees. They were like “find an ankle person who only does feet and ankles.”
      The fantastic doctor who put me back together was Ortho trauma emergency surgeon and she did a great job but soon as I was done with that segment of my repair, I started seeking out and talking to specialists and getting guidance on what’s possible.
      and it was interesting to talk to different Specialists and get slightly different recommendations and senses of possibility.

      I know it seems like cliche but “hang in there” is the best advice I think anybody can give any of us with this injury. And what works best for me is to stay distracted as much as possible and keep the paint as low as possible and keep in touch with friends and have visitors chill out with you to keep you company and keep things lively… and watch tons of fascinating YouTube videos and learn all about new stuff so the mind stays off the pain/sadness/boredom subject.
      at least that was helpful for me!

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      • I lucked up. My ankle dr is the perfectionist genius guy who gets all the difficult problems sent to him from other ortho docs. When his nurses saw how nasty my injury looked they all started talking about how he’s going to love putting me back together and it will stroke his ego and all that. Then when I was leaving they were stopping me to ask how excited he got for the challenge. It’s funny too because he actually trained the ER ortho doc that I did my surgery in New Orleans. Weird coincidence.

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    • Nate, welcome sorry to have to meet you this way. I had the very same issue with my foot pointing down at the very same time in my recovery. When I was getting fitted for my boot the nurse kind of shoved my foot into a 90 degree angle, which was not fun at all, I didn’t sleep for a few nights after that. Then a bit later I couldn’t point my toe for awhile and that was very painful. That got better when my doctor let me sleep without the boot. It’s all part of the recovery process. If you’re not weight bearing you shouldn’t have to worry that much about whether you will be walking around on your toes. My doc had me start moving my foot at home before I was weight bearing or going to PT but that was like 7 weeks post op. Also, I was warned prior to my surgery that i might have a fixator for longer than a week– so I don’t think it’s that unusual for a longer timeline with the fixator.
      I had many many sleepless painful nights. It got to a point where I was taking pain meds every other hour. Immediately post op I had compression syndrome- not like fracture blisters or anything but all the skin on my foot pealed off for what seemed like forever. That was very painful.
      This injury requires infinite patience. It’s all about waiting. Even though I’m doing better than most at this point, I still deal with pain and swelling. My life definitely isn’t like how it was before but I’m somewhat scraping by and managing. I long to hike and camp again. I was able to walk a little mile trail yesterday but it definitely wasn’t comfortable. Most of the time that’s too much for me.
      I will probably have some of this metal removed soon. My biggest plate is starting to bother me way more than ever before. The doctor said we have to wait 9 months to a year.
      I wish you a speedy recovery

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      • I thought I should put my story out there, not only to get it off my chest, but to join in the chat. May 11, 2016, it was my families first day in Cancun Mexico (and my parents 20th anniversary). My parents went out for dinner 45 minutes away from the resort and had my sister and I babysit my younger brothers. My brothers were jumping over the sea wall (I’d say it was about 15 feet tall and they were landing on sand)and running back to our room to see who could do it the fastest. So my oldest younger brother didn’t beat him, so I obviously had to beat him. As soon as I jumped over the wall it shattered. Right there on the beach. In the moment I didn’t know it was broken because I was trying to get back up and run, but my body tumbled over and wouldn’t let me get up and that’s when I saw it was broke. I was very abnormally relaxed. I got the attention of some people on the beach and my siblings got ahold of the hotel staff to help out. Since I was a minor no one could touch me till my parents got there 45 minutes later. After that, we had a 30 minute drive in the ambulance on a very bumpy road to the hospital where they told me I wouldn’t walk again, I broke 4 bones, and I completely lost my joint. They put my leg back in place and told me it would be best to go to America to get surgery. So they gave me TYLENOL for last night at the resort and my 38,000 feet in elevation plane ride home. Yes, I was in excruciating for 32 hours. I finally got to a hospital and didn’t get surgery till the day after and the surgery was just for the x-fix. But, the doctors here told me that I will walk just maybe not normal, I lost all my cartilage, and I shattered my tibia and partial fibula into 26 pieces. Also he said on a scale of 1-10 he’d rate my accident a high 8. He said if it was a 9 he would’ve amputated. Fun stuff! I was non-weight bearing for 5 months and if I fell or anything I would never walk again. But here I am almost a year later and I walk very close to normal. I have a small limp, but I can’t run normal at all I look like a hobbit. Lol so no more sports or jumping. But I’m grateful to be where I am. I would’ve just liked to not have jumped from that wall last year.

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  30. Hey Zach do you ever think about how crazy it is that here we all are, and this thing we’re dealing with is just so shitty but your site is the only support out there? Thank you for being awesome. You’ve not only provided this place for us to help each other out but you yourself are great at moderating this thing and your posts are relevant and helpful.
    It’d be one thing for you to just be the only guy to make a place for us, but you’ve done way more than that. Just wanted to say thanks (and also say wtf to the rest of the world for not showing us ‘piloners’ the same love and support that other afflictions get) 🙂

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    • Thanks for the complementary feedback about what’s going on here Nate. Yes! I totally started this blog because I was so alone and I figured if nobody’s doing it then i should start and I don’t know much about building web sites but I thought I could do this for free so I did it and it’s taken definitely a year-and-a-half to get much traffic but unfortunately there’s plenty of people like I was searching around the internet to find a little camaraderie. I’m really happy I did this I’m really sorry we’re all stuck with this but the one thing I keep reminding myself is there’s a lot more to me than an ankle… there’s a lot more to my life than my lower left extremity.
      I’m not 3/4 hole and 1/4 damaged, I’m 90% whole and 10% damage. But it’s sure taken a lot of coming to terms with to get to where I’m at now mentally.
      I visited my dentist who had been telling me about pilon fractured ankles and I thought how horrible that would be and unfortunately that person has passed away from an overdose. 😦

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  31. I had forgotten about my heel not touching the bottom of the boot. I think it was at about 10 weeks when I was able to have the boot off when sitting around. I started trying to move my foot for mobility when I would be watching TV or whatever. I was NWB for about 14 weeks and then toe touch. I didn’t start walking without assistance until 4 1/2 months and that was really uncomfortable. I am 7 months now since the accident. I walk with a small limp but every step is still painful. I know my break was not as bad as most because I never had the blisters to deal with. I think the reason this injury is so difficult for us is we are active people, not sitters. I wish everyone a quality recovery.
    Tim

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    • Yeah recall how i was so happy to be toe-down in the first cast (i got put straight into a plaster cast at the small town ER then was told “go home and find a specialist, we cant fix this kind of break”)
      When they booted me post surgery they dorsiflexed my foot to 0° and holy shit did that hurt! Took my breath away for a while. I was mad at the guy because i thought it was very unnecessary but at this point I still didn’t realize just how bad I was injured. Later i realized it was all part of the package.
      I still cant get my foot flat on the floor while standing barefoot with both feet together..but that doesn’t phase me because with heel lifts and an AZ Breeze brace on, and in stiff hiking boots, I can walk normally for about 5 miles.

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    • How did you handle your foot in the boot without the heel touching? I tried using padding under my heel but they slide forward and end up under my arch. The boot just feels like it’s trying squeezing my foot into an angle that just isn’t going to happen and it hurts like hell after a while.
      I’m 100% NWB but I’m supposed to be wearing this boot all the time. Instead I’m not wearing it at all.

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      • I ended up not adding pads but I left the part right in the ankle area kind of loose so that my foot wasn’t crushed in that position. And then I put pads around that area so that if it did move a little, it was protected (the extra pads that come with the boot) As you kind of heal with your foot in the boot I suspect it will get easier with gravity and the shape of the boot. You must become a zen master with patience. Once I was able to rest my foot on the floor it got better, not weight bearing but having my toe touch the floor. For the longest time I couldn’t even touch my foot to the floor, like sitting at the dinner table or anywhere really.
        I still sleep with my foot elevated, it just feels better. When you are finally able to move it, things will change rapidly from day to day, week to week. Hang in there. Find some good movies, books, coloring books, puzzles etc. I was lucky enough to have friends that would take me to the park or something to get out of the house. I rented a wheel chair so I could get out of the house and not go crazy. This is a really frustrating injury. For me, the hardest part was the rapid change in my life and the emotional devastation that comes with that. Eating healthy food is good for healing as well and stay away from alcohol if possible it will delay your healing.

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        • Hi every body Hannah Zach Nate not looked on here for a few days but glad I did coz of loads more comments going back to what Zach said a while back when you tell some one about the pilon fracture they really can’t see past oh you have only broke your leg you will be ok in 4-6 months uuuuummmm no look at this cage that is pinned through the bone through foot and leg for a min of 16 weeks and then go into a boot for how ever long and get yor ankle moving again putting full weight on it and moving your leg I fractured shin and smashed my ankle but through all of this even in the darkest times I’ve told myself don’t let it beat you and over the last 5-6 days really pushing my self great physio sesh yesterday using leg machine extending injured leg out sideways standing frm sitting arms straight out not using arms cycling machine I’m nearly 12 weeks in and yeah it’s still swelling going purple red but am managing to put my foot down for longer periods of time as for my foot as well I want to properly bend my toes and move ankle that is what brain is telling me but as it is pinned in 3 places my body will not let me do it it does my head in lol but any ways guys we are all gonna get through this believe xx frm Matt

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  32. Oh and I forgot to say I had to stay in the fixator for almost a month before I got the real big surgery because of my plane flight! But for everyone going through it right now, I want to say it does get better eventually. Yes you’ll have to fight depression, anxiety, and those awful re-runs of you having your accident before you sleep at night but it does get better. And you anticipate the day you get to go to therapy and get your life back! I can’t tell you how happy I was to finally be able to walk. Just have patience and pray A LOT!

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  33. “My new life after the fall.”
    September 29 2016 the last day I walked without pain. Yup the day when I was setting up a brand new ladder tree stand. Well let’s just say the manufacturer didn’t do there job. Instead of staying intact it decided to brake. Yup 18 feet in the air and it broke, dropping me to the ground. Missing part of my finger, brused and broken.
    Well I spent 12 weeks non weight bearing. 16 weeks PT. Only to be left with a non-union of my pilon fracture of the tibial plafond. So now surgery is my only option. Will screw the tibia to reduce and align with debridement of all the damaged Cartilage. Said they will address any other issues while their in there.
    That means another 6 months of torture. The mental state will get another round of depression. Healthy except I can not walk. Haven’t seen a paycheck in 8 months. Man this is getting tuff.

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    • Now this is a pretty heartbreaking story for sure. What are bad bad situation you’ve ended up in Louis!!
      I’ll save the “hang in there” you’ve probably heard that too many times. But all I can say is what works for me…..don’t think about it . It might seem totally crazy for me to say that but at the stage like you’re at I think all you need to do is get some years down the road or maybe only one year down the road will give you a new perspective but you got to get to there and for me the best way has been to get and stay distracted. I started major new hobbies, books, movies, painting, blogging!!
      We will get more and more of the worst case outcome stories…. you can help others. We all need your story and your experience.

      Thanks for writing today! Keep us posted on how you’re doing. Physically and mentally.

      Like

  34. Hi Zach and everyone,

    Last time instead of posting new message, I posted my message in reply. Guess like my head is playing with me.

    I am sharing my update, I finally met an ankle and foot specialist today after a lot of research (there aren’t many in India). While I was just imaging that my Achilles tendon has contracted and hence I am unable to put my foot down and need a surgery- that’s what the general Orthopaedics surgents have been telling me. However,the news is worst then what I was imaging. when I met my ankle specialist he told me my bones haven’t aligned properly because mine is comminuted pilon fracture and I would need a surgery to fix the alignment ( of multiple bones I broke) and also lengthen my Achilles tendon.

    The options the doctor gave me are choosing between the bad and the worse.

    Option -1 Doctor told me either I can go for the preservation approach where they recreate the fracture again and try to align it. In this option, I go through the same horror I went through last 6 months get plates and screws and external fixator and stay in bed for 3 months and then partial and gradual weight bearing. Even if I opt for this surgery they aren’t sure that in this procedure one surgery would be enough to align ,if it doesn’t work I will need another surgery.

    Option-2 Doctor gave me the option of ankle fusion. In this approach as you all know the process cannot be reversed. And I have so little information on ankle fusion. I saw videos in Youtube that people are able to walk with fusion but I guess you cannot run . there is no information on how long its last after fusion like 10-20 years before you get Arthritis. Does anyone of you have any information on this?

    Considering that preservation approach has no guarantee and requires numerous surgery, ankle fusion sounds to be better. Although, I am worried that the process cannot be reversed and I know I wont be able to run and will loose mobility. I am 36 years old and the future looks bleak with this damn Pilon fracture. Also, the doctor told me if I do fusion I would slightly limp a bit. Is that true do people limp after fusion?

    I am in a fix now I seriously dont know which option I should go with? I have cried my heart out today, it feels so miserable.Oh! God I wonder isn’t there any good news out there? Anything that says it works.

    I also read someone who is 17 in this forum who has pilon fracture. There is this colleague of mine who broke his ankle while playing skates when he was 18 years, his ankle is perfectly fine now. I met him in a meeting so I am not sure if it was pilon fracture but I did remember he telling me that it was an ankle fracture and it took him good 6 months to recover. He is 35 now and has no problem, he goes for trek etc occasionally he told me when it gets bit cold he feels very minor pain. So if you are 17, I am sure you are going to heal a lot more better!!! See there is good news at times .

    But I am thankful to have come across this forum ,it helps me keep myself together reading what all each of us are going through. I also cringe at the thought of how some of you in the forum have gone through 7-8 surgeries.

    Like

    • My only observations arre that not all pilon fractures are the same and some heal very well and some go straight to arthritis.
      My uncle is 68 and has had an ankle fusion for 7 years and has been playing half court basketball twice a week every week on the fusion.
      Im not excited about multiple surgeries and re-breaking it. Sounds rough. Not likely going to be limp-free after all that anyway.
      Fusions are supposed to heal pian free.
      Tough spot!!

      Like

    • Hey Laishram

      Trust me I understand the dread of more surgeries. I am scheduled for number 10 in June.
      The other alternatives are first get a Ortho who would use a halo external fixation to break and realign your ankle. Seems rough but probably a great alternative. I am in the middle of that process. Right now I am 394 days out.
      Just be positive and stay out of bed.

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    • For starters, my injury was 12/26/15 in an automobile accident. Left wrist, right hand, right ankle fractures. Left leg was the worst, compound tib/fib/ankle fractures and dislocated ankle.
      After 3 surgeries I had the x-fix removed and was put in the cast. When the cast was removed, we found severe infection. Sure not a pretty sight! I had to have tendon and muscle removed during the fourth surgery, as well. Due to not having enough arteries in my leg to make skin grafts a great option, we had to try to let the wounds heal through other methods: wound vac, hyperbaric oxygen chamber therapy, etc. It wasn’t until 4 surgeries and 7 months that my wounds were healed.
      Through all this non-weightbaring (4 of the months) my Achilles, too, shortened. Due to my healing issues, we needed to take conservative cutting routes. So surgery 5 was to remove part of the hardware where the infection had been. Then, had to wait for that to heal all the way up (October 2016) to approach the next issues of shortened Achilles and the same issue with all 5 toes having tendons retract. I could walk with obviously a very bad limp, but pain was not really an issue. Being only 24 and very active prior, my goal was to get as much of a full recovery as possible. The approach options for the Achilles were as followed:
      3 small Z-cuts
      Long incision along the Achilles (could not do this option)
      Taylor-Spatial frame (non-weightbaring. Manually had to turn dials everyday for three months to raise foot. Then, surgery to remove, casted for a month.)
      So, we tried option #1, but it did not allow for enough correction. So while still under my surgeon put the frame on (obviously I had okay-ed this prior.) Google Taylor Spatial frame if you haven’t been talked to about them yet…crazy looking thing. When it was time to have it removed, my foot got to over 5degrees past 90. Same with the cast. Then when time to walk…the amount of pain was crazy compared to the first time I was allowed to walk after the original injury/surgeries. And after only a few weeks out of the frame and cast (while doing therapy) my foot had dropped down below 90 again. I can raise more than I could prior to the surgery, but not by much and the pain is 10x more. Now, we are going to try some injection for pain to get my through for awhile but we are looking at doing a fusion, too. I am now 17 months out from my initial injury and we are probably going to do the fusion, a surgery I could have done originally and would be in a lot less pain and would have all that time of recovery under my belt already. I have incredible surgeons, and I wouldn’t change the route I took as it made sense to do the options we did. But being 25, have had 7 surgeries on this one leg, not able to live a normal life, and not closer to recovery than I was over a year ago…it has worn me out! I feel like appointments for the doctor, surgeries, therapy, etc. has controlled my life the past 17 months so I am ready to move on (I’m sure all of you feel the same way!)
      My biggest reason for responding is do not rule out the ankle fusion. I feel like I did due to lack of mobility or it being so “permeant” but reality is with a fusion a year ago, I would have had a lot more mobility than I do now without it. It’s my next step. For a total of 8 months I was non-weightbaring (four and four) and my leg couldn’t get wet for a year, so I’m going to enjoy this summer walking and swimming and then go back for the fusion. I still have a lot I want to know about it before doing it but it is looking like the best (and really one of the only) options for me.
      Best of luck making your decision and your recovery! It is so comforting having this site where people (although I wish no one had this injury!) are going through the same thing. 99% of people that I talk to have never even heard the word pilon before haha! Good luck 😊

      Like

      • Hi Laura! Wow you are a trooper. Very happy that you have not given up. I can’t tell what the tone of your comments feel somewhat upbeat and I would not be upbeat at your place so hats off to you.
        I often sit here and wonder why my surgeon didn’t just fuse it right out of the gate- in the initial surgery… but you know, surgeons don’t like to give up so easy: -)
        Have you also looked at the Exosym? So far only a couple folks on here are going that route and I’m very curious how it’ll work for them.
        I am also dancing with my insurance company for approval for the device.
        Thanks for posting and good luck! Keep us in the loop on your progress 🙂

        Like

  35. My pilot fracture occurred on April24, 2016 when I jumped from a falling deer stand. I have made steady progress since the nine-month mark. I can walk-slowly-without a limp. I ride a stationary bike and lift weights six days a week. I don’t believe I am arthritic. Pain and swelling have subsided. There is hope for all. Patience is a key factor. Thank you for creating this site. I wish you all the best.

    Like

    • Hi Everyone,

      Thank you all for your responses.

      Zach , if your uncle has been going good 7 years with fusion I guess it aint so bad. I wish we had some data on fusion done on early 30’s and 20’s on how early the arthritis hits in because when you fuse the bones the other areas areas would need to perform that function .Hence, I read early wear and tear happens in the muscle/ and other ligaments.

      Laura, I really appreciate you sharing your experience. You are really a tough girl, hats off to you, I mean you really did hang in there and didn’t let the odds beat you. Your experience helps me understand why one should not rule out fusion because with all the painful surgeries if it fails then fusion is what we have to ultimately opt for . And we can spare that pain of numerous surgeries , if we opt for fusion earlier. I hope you get better soon .

      Todd, wow you are actually going for 10 surgery . Infact my ortho had suggested the same that they recreate the fracture again by breaking the bone and they would attempt to realign with external fixator. I was so disturbed and scared hearing of this option , I cant bring myself to think of going for this option. But I wish you the best and I hope you recover soon.

      Randall it is so wonderful to learn you are recovering without much pain. Alas !! something positive .

      So I am still in a fix in the meantime I went to a Tibetian medicine centre got myself some nice massage oils to relax the muscles. Actually doctor mentioned I lost a lot of cartilage too during the fall. When I read online guess like there aren’t much natural ways to regenerate cartilage.By the way I am not sure if you guys have access to any herbal/ayurvedic oils OUT there in India we do have plenty. This natural oils really helped me to relief pain when I apply them at the end of the day. I don’t walk much because my Achilles tendon is shorten I am walking with crutches mostly on my toes. But while doing physiotherapy because my leg is so stiff, it use to hurt a lot and when I applied this oil it really gave me relief. Its called Sorig Massage oil ( also know as SORIG ARTHRITIS OIL) and its found in Tibetian medicine stores.I think you can buy online too.

      So I will be going for more specialist consultations before I take any decisions. I am trying hard to stay positive and happy.

      Like

  36. So I have an update for everyone. For those of you who haven’t read my story, my injury was 11/2016– I fell/ jumped off a boulder and fell about 5 feet. I was doing really well and was back to my normal activities for the most part, working full time- 10 hrs a day on my feet. About 2 weeks ago, I started having some increased pain and swelling. There wasn’t any time where I felt like something bad happened although I was in a minor car accident right around when it happened. It got so bad I couldn’t walk or work. I had terrible swelling I haven’t had since soon after my second surgery.

    I scheduled a follow up with my surgeon and they did X-rays. They said two screws are broken and my largest plate (I have 5) moved a few millimeters. The radiologist report indicated there are new fractures around the 4 most upper screws. The doctor didn’t seem to think it was a big deal, she didn’t acknowledge the new fractures. She said the bone is m

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  37. * almost entirely healed and I just need to “take it easy for a few weeks”. She also told me I could go back on disability if I wanted. I opted to continue to work and just relax the rest of the time. So incredibly frustrating, it’s like I got my life back and then it was ripped away again. I’m really struggling to continue to work like this. The swelling seems better but I still am having significant pain when weight bearing. The plan is to now remove at least the troublesome plate 1 year out from surgery. She said I probably re-injured it over time, slowly with too much exercise. But she didn’t say “oh you can’t be doing that”. I was told I could do my normal activities again. I guess part of the hardest thing is that I wasn’t told this was a possible complication, so I had no idea this could happen and couldn’t prepare myself mentally. I’m now considering going back on disability for at least a week or two.

    The doctor also said to use the boot again but when I tried it was so incredibly painful I couldn’t handle it. I’ve been trying different braces from the drug store. I thought maybe the boot was painful because I now have a large calf muscle that was completely atrophied and tiny when I first went in the boot? Has anyone else had this complication? I think it’s way more mentally devistating than painful. Still able to drive but walking is very difficult.

    Like

    • I’m so sorry you had a setback Hannah. I don’t know if you have an option, but there are googleable lists of the top ankle specialists in the country on the web. Maybe you could find somebody close to you to get a second opinion/ fresh perspective.
      I know that after seeing 3 Specialists I got different and unique information from each one. I don’t think orthopedic surgeons have a lot of knowledge experience or interest in long-term outcomes they just focus on repairs in the early stage. That’s just my opinion. I’m a little bit jaded.

      Like

      • Zach,
        I’m kind of hesitant to go to a different specialist just because the one I’m going to is already a top ankle specialist. I see a lot of other Drs for my autoimmune issues and everyone I’ve mentioned her name to has only had amazing things to say about her.

        I’m also concerned my insurance wouldn’t pay for it, I’ve had over 100k they’ve paid out this year. Dunno hoW they decide what they pay or don’t and if it even makes sense. Now that it’s been about a week, the symptoms are starting to get a lot better so I have some hope. I guess I will see what happens at my next apppintment and decide from there about a second opinion. I’m already going to UCLA but I could try cedars Sinai. I’m also worried they will give me conflicting info and then I won’t know who to believe.

        There are so many difficulties with this injury. I just wished I had been warned more that this was a possible complication. I have 5 plates and only one is a problem/ bothering me so it could definitely be way worse (this is the largest plate, it’s like 9 inches long). They are talking about removing it in November. Already can’t wait but concerned about complications arising from that, especially with the osteoporosis. I’m worried when they try to remove it, my bone will just crumble. It’s amazing this is my first broken bone ever with the amount of physical activity I had been doing and the weak bones

        Like

        • I understand. it’s good that you’re confident in your doctor.
          My wife’s a rheumatology NP and when you share that you have autoimmune issues it brought me back to things she’s shared with me about how that can affect the bones. Especially the medications.
          All of this fucking sucks! Pardon my language. Good God I hope you catch a break soon!!
          Pardon any typos this was done on voice to text

          Like

  38. Has anyone tried the ExoSym mentioned here? My wife has a bad pilon fracture after getting hit by a car while running. She had an internal fixation that didn’t work out well and the. An external fixation that has turned out better, but mobility/range of motion is an issue more than pain so she can walk well again without crutches. Wondering if this ExoSym can help with range of motion and if anyone has experience with it or communicated with that company?

    Like

    • Hi Drew! Thanks for posting.
      I think we have a couple reports on the exo sym here, and another place ive found testimonials on the exo sym through a Google search- there are some longer term testimonials out there.
      Good luck!!!

      Like

      • Thanks I found some good info online. I think you mentioned you were going to try it? Would definitely be interested in reviews from people that specifically had Pilon fractures and range of motion (dorsiflexion) issues.

        Appreciate anyone’s thoughts or experience on this.

        Very glad this site exists!

        Drew

        *Please excuse any typos – this email was sent from my iPhone

        >

        Like

        • HI Drew.
          also one thing I’ve been using that really helps with my poor dorsiflexion is a 1+ inch heel lift in both shoes. It allows me to stand plantar flexed and I can walk more normally. Without them I hobble. I found them on Amazon. There’s numerous varieties and I had to try several.

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  39. Hi zach and all the others that use this amazing website zach has created a little update for you I have to see my surgeon on 13th of June only 20 days away now and he said when I see him he will b looking to take off my monstrosity of a scaffolding that has been around my foot and leg for the last 12 weeks pinned through the foot 3 places and leg going up towards the knee in 4 places has been nasty painfull sore uncomftable to say the least but you just gotta tell yourself guys this is going to get better and I will beat this I have my partner who has cared for me and been totally amazing without her I don’t no where I would b with this it helps to have the love of your family behind you so in 4 weeks time I could b cage free can’t wait my swelling has gone down but if I do a bit of walking in the day my leg swells a bit and wher 2 pins go in my ankle it gets sore there but that comes with the nature of having pins in the ankle I try to weight bare as much as I can but with pins in through the foot it hurts and is generally uncomfortable and with my calf not working I can’t pump the blood back up from my foot so goes quite red when foot is down but does not hurt as much as it used too all these things are hard too deal with but you just have to get on with it but I am really looking forward to the cage coming off and get my ankle mobile again then the real hard work will start big love to all of you out there on this site who have suffered a pilon fracture yes zach pilon fractures do suck big time xxxx

    Like

    • Awesome update Matthew! Fingers crossed that everything goes well! I remember the time when my left foot could never pump its own swelling down. The blood pressure would grow in it and it felt like it was going to explode when I started​ using the crutches. Any time I could I’d sit down and get my foot up above my heart. it would turn purple and red and would look really gross. 🙂

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  40. Hello pilon friends! I’ve read all of your stories and cannot believe there are so many others just like me! Because let me tell you, throughout this journey I have felt so alone!

    My accident was on 3/31/17. The doctor told me that a pilon fracture is the result from very high energy accidents, car accident, falling from a height, etc. He was blown away when I told him I just slipped in the mud. Yup, you read that correctly, I got a pilon fracture + a broken fibula all from simply slipping in the mud. However he did reassure me that im fortunate because I am only 18.

    Swelling was horrible so my surgeon (who is so amazing by the way!!!) gave me an external fixator which I wore for two weeks.

    On 4/13/17 I had my big surgery. Ex fix was removed and 13 screws along with two large plates were placed. Thank god for the nerve block which lasted 24 hours. Then after that wore off, lots and lots of pain pills. I was in so much pain I didn’t know if I was going to make it. Thankfully the pain subsides after about 2 weeks.

    2 weeks after surgery at my first post op apt. the doctor out me in an air cast, Which I love so much. Doctor said I did not have to sleep with it on and I finally was able to get a full night of sleep.

    My most recent post op apt on 5/17/17 my doctor finally gave me an estimation on when I’ll start to bare weight. He took some X-rays and said things are starting to mend well, my bones are lined up really well with my ankle joint! He told me he wanted to see me again in 6 weeks, 6/28/17, and by then I’ll start to bare a little weight, still using my crutches of course. Also that is when I can finally start physical therapy. He then said in an additional 6 weeks he hopes that I’ll be full weight baring. So hopefully by August!

    Of course I’m learning not to get my hopes up too much because a lot can go wrong. I’m praying for a speedy recovery, although 4 1/2 months doesn’t seem too speedy but from what I have read that is pretty fast for a pilon fracture.

    I am also still very numb around my incision. Numb to the point where I can touch my leg but not feel it whatsoever. I brought this up with the doctor and he said this is totally normal and it’s nothing to worry about. I’m currently 6 weeks post surgery, has anyone else experienced this? When did the numbness go away?

    Like

    • Thank you for your story Sadie. I hope your injury was on the lighter side and your body can recover well.
      I definitely had a lot of numbness on the top of my foot and toes. Every doctor’s visit they did a numbness check and it never seem to go away.
      And after I kind of forgot about it, the feeling started to return.
      I’d say that my skin feels 85% normal to the touch now after 2.25 years.
      Thanks again for posting!

      Like

    • Hi Sadie,

      I had quite a bit of numbness and still do.
      I’m 6 months post-op and 7 months from my injury (you can read my story above). It started when I was in the ambulance I had severe nerve pain it felt like the top of my foot had been set on fire. I was literally screaming it was so bad. I was unable to feel or move my big toe and the one next to it for quite awhile, I was concerned perhaps they were paralyzed. After the surgery I still had a lot of numbness in various places.

      Did you get nerve catheters for your surgery or just a block? They inserted these tiny tubes under my skin that continuously gave a constant infusion of numbing medication. That caused me a fair amount of weird numbness- for example, my surgery was on the right leg, when I awoke I was numb on the left side of my face, my left breast and left hip. Dr said it may have been a side effect from the nerve block or from having been laid on that side during the surgery. A couple months later that numbness did eventually subside.

      As far as the incision areas go, I have a fair amount of numbness, it is coming back very slowly but I wonder if it will return fully. I can feel my big toe now, but half of the second one is still numb but resolving very slowly. The biggest issue I have with this numbness is nerve pain- like burning, sharp tingling, pins and needles type deal. The other issue is that I can’t feel the ice pack in that area so it doesn’t feel cold to me- I will keep it on for too long and sometimes the cold will burn my skin from having the ice pack on too long.

      My doctor said it’s very normal to have this numbness as the nerves start to repair themselves and get back to normal. My nerves were damaged from the sharp pieces of bone were imbedded in my soft tissue.

      When I first started walking, the bottom of my foot was extremely sensitive but it got better fairly quickly after walking. I had some areas on the bottom of my foot that were also numb.

      It will all probably get better for you over time, it’s just that once I got sensation back I did have a lot of nerve pain/ sensitivity as they are healing (which eventually resolves as well). Physical therapy will probably help too.

      Good luck on your recovery! Keep us all posted!

      Like

  41. Hi everyone,

    This doctors are very confusing I went to another specialist and they told me I can either opt to do my procedure gradually or in one go. As my Achilles tendon is shorten they told me they can lengthen it and then my foot can reach the floor ( right now after first operation due to my muscle contraction Achilles Tendon has shorten and my foot cant be placed flat, I walk on my forefoot almost on my toes with crutches). Or else they suggested while lengthening Achilles tendon I also go for ankle fusion in one go.

    What doctors cant tell me is that after my Achilles tendon lengthening once my foot can reach the floor / walk flat if my ankle would hurt. Right now I am walking forefoot so even if I hold the stairs bars and walk down or walk up my ankle doesn’t hurt. But they did mention that there is high chances of degenerative joints because in the fall I have lost a lot of cartilage and the small bones around ankle broke multiple pieces and now the bone surface is rough edge/ uneven surface and they told me bones rubbing on bones while walking is very likely to hurt. So they anticipate at some point or the other I am going to need fusion .

    What I wanted to know from you guys who have recuperated does your ankle hurt a lot when you walk ? Where does it hurt mostly? How much walking are you able to do? I am not into high level activities at all but I don’t want to loose the ability to run or jump by doing fusion.

    Zac just like your ankle I saw the video you posted I have no movement in the front ankle its like just 20-30 degree that I can move, its almost like already fused. Only thing is I don’t know if I put my complete foot down is it going to hurt a lot. I wish the answer was simple , right now It feels like I am playing a card game and taking risky decisions without knowing the outcome because I really don’t want to do repeated surgery. Psychologically it is so traumatic and secondly my work is getting hampered due to long leaves in surgery ( although work should be the last thing in mind right now but it helps me pay my medical bills and keeps me sane) . Besides, my work place has been very supportive maybe because I work in International Development and they are sensitive to such issues but no one including myself saw a second surgery coming in 6 months.

    Also, I know I need to put my health first because fusion would be life altering process and I did see a Facebook Forum on Ankle Fusion ( and hell yea even that was quite depressive because when you medically try to temper what God had originally given there is always complications). In that forum there were teenagers getting ankle fusion at 15 years my heart really goes out to them .

    Like

    • I’ve been giving this subject a lot of thought lately. I can say that if I walk without wearing an ankle brace and sturdy shoes, I get pain in five minutes of walking. Sometimes less. The pain is deep inside my ankle. But I also have pain in the soft tissue around my ankle because of pinching and grinding that’s happening. Possibly on bone spurs and possibly on hardware.
      I have the understanding that I would be much more mobile if I had the ankle fusion. As it is now I could not run or jump but I know somebody who has an ankle fusion who plays half court basketball 3 days a week. And he does not just stand still, he moves around the court a lot. When he walks I cannot tell which of his ankles is fused.
      I don’t have any knowledge of what Achilles tendon lengthening requires or what the recovery feels like.
      I would say that if they offered me fusion instead of trying to save my ankle, there are a lot of days that I wish they had finished it and been done.
      But I have had contradictions between Specialists where some say fuse it now and I’ll be happy, and the other say if I fuse it now I’ll regret it because secondary damage to the forefoot will cause future arthritic pain in other places. I’m 41 years old and a lot of these decisions are based around how many more years of use the foot will receive.

      I believe my response here probably only makes it less easy to decide which way to go. I’m sorry.

      I’d really like to get contributions to this site by people who are 10 years post fracture and tell us what they did what they wished they’d have done differently.

      Best of luck Iaisharm!

      Like

      • Hey Zach,

        Thank you for the good wishes and for taking out time to respond, much appreciated.

        I believe doctors mostly look at short term solutions, they were concerned that I am on crutches even after 9 months (my first surgery was done in October 2016), so they are keen to figure out a way to make me walk now. On crutches primarily because of shortening of Achilles tendon which happened due to muscle contraction, I was in bed for 3 months . But I am a little less worried about the Achilles tendon muscle release surgery. But fusion was something bothering me because I also read that after 10 years arthritis kicks in because the other areas in the ankle have to bear the burden. But one of the surgeon I meant through my friend both he and his wife who are doctors consulted me that 10 years a long way to go, every patient is different and arthritis might not set in that early because it depends to some extend on our physical activities. I am 36 years old and so I also wanted to wait a bit before fusion .But if it is going to hurt a lot while walking then my mind is now getting more inclined towards fusion.

        Sharing your experience did help me understand a bit better on what pain is going to be like without fusion. I think you have pain primarily because in Pilon fracture most of us lose a lot of cartilage and then it affects the soft tissues too, even I had pain in soft tissue for quite some time after surgery ( and although I walk on Forefoot when I move my ankle joints in my bed I can hear the bones grinding .So doctors must be right that they say in my case the edges are rough and walking might be painful). I am still awaiting consultations appointment of two specialist.

        So until I make up mind I am just hoping for the best !

        Initially every second of my life was taken up by the pain in my ankle now that the pain has subsided until I hit surgery I am trying my best to relax and take now one day at a time . “I tell myself atleast let not worry for today”” 🙂

        Like

        • Hi Laishram!
          It really seems like every decision we make is a gamble! And we can’t go back after wr make a change.
          Im curious why nobody has posted about trying an AFO brace. It has given me pain free walking for a year and a half. Its a night and day difference. Perhaps im a rare case? I do have some cartilage left at the back of the tibia, and i think that is just the result of breaking more of the front of the tibial plafond than the back. Who knows.
          My fingers are crossed that you get some relief soon!

          Like

  42. Hi everyone,

    On May 16h, 2017 4AM I was trying to catch a train to Tsukiji fish market in Japan as the market tends to open very early. Google Maps instructed me to walk through this tunnel to get to the train station but unfortunately there was locked gate that does not open until 6AM. Afraid to miss the 430AM train, I decided to climb the 10 feet gate. When I reached the top, I realized how fragile the gate was (probably not made for climbing) and decided to jump by pivoting my body to the right. As a result I landed full force on my right ankle and almost blacked out from the pain. I got external fixation two days later in Japan and was hospitalized for another week before flying back home to NYC with the fixator still in my ankle. I did not have insurance and got a hefty $9000 charged on my CC.

    I saw Dr. Tejwani from NYU Langone a few days later and he scheduled me for ORIF two days later. I now have 13 screws and three plates in my tibia. Two weeks later (yesterday), I had my stitches removed and when we looked at the X-rays we saw that I have a pilon fracture in the tibia along with a minor fracture in the talus. I was relieved that plates nor screws were required for the talus but the doctor said the tibia was fractured pretty badly. He gave me a walking boot which surprised me since patients usually receive hard casts two weeks post operation but he said it’s more important to start exercising to get ROM in the ankle.

    In terms of pain it was unbearable for a couple of hours after the nerve block wore off the next day but the medication definitely helped. What’s more frustrating was sleeping where I would wake up every hour to try to find a comfortable position with the cast on. But now that I have a boot I can take it off when I sleep (as approved by my doctor) and sleep sideways with pillows between my knees. Last night I slept for two 3.5 hour intervals and it felt great, though I did wake up with a bit of swelling/numbness in the morning. Other than that, I do not feel much pain as I’m laying in bed, just tingling and pinching at the bottom of my foot as though someone is ripping off your skin. Sometimes it feels as though the bones in your foot are being crushed but it doesn’t happen too often. After I got my cast removed I washed the injured foot last night by sitting on a chair in the bathtub with a mini stool to rest my feet. I know the doctor said no weight bearing so I didn’t think this would be an issue since I wasn’t standing but simply resting my foot on the stool. I noticed my foot would rest flat on the stool as though the sides were swollen and the middle part of my foot wouldn’t lay evenly on the surface. After drying off and returning to bed I did notice swelling and bit of pain about 5/10.

    This is still the early stages of my injury and I’m very worried about walking since I know that will be the biggest challenge 2.5 months from now. I’m not a crazy sports person but I do lift weights and the doctor said I will be able to resume doing so including leg presses.

    I am 25 years old and reading these stories have really made me worry since many of you are experiencing long term complications such as pain/swelling/limping and trouble walking/jumping/running even after a year from this injury. It’ll be a long road to recovery from here on but I will try to get as much help as possible from my doctor and PT.

    My next X-ray visit will be four weeks from now. For the time being I have been elevating my foot as much as possible while icing it every now and then. I also try to stretch the ankle using a band at least half an hour a day.

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  43. Hi everyone! I have the same type of injury from a car accident in April 2016. I have had the worst time healing. I have had infection in my bone my blood and im going in for my sixth operation in july to fuse everything together. I had the xfix first then that got infected after it was removed i got internal hardware and battled infection and constant antibiotics finally he removed the hardware and put me in a cast then a boot. Just when i thought i was going to start pt i find out that my fibular broke again and my tibia is curving. So now he wants to put a rod in and fuse it. Im so over it all! It is nice to see otjers that can relate.Good luck to you guys !

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    • Hi to the main man Zach who started this amazing site my new up date is that I saw my surgeon last week and he X-rayed my ankle and leg and they are excellent but he advised me to keep my cage on just incase as sort of a precaution for another 3-4 and he is luckily for me a top surgeon in England so within 3 weeks frm today it will b off I have had 1 pin into my ankle 3 through the foot and 3 through up near the underneath of my knee and a bolt stewed in just under pins at some times it has been really painfull and awkward for sleep so I can’t wait for cage to come off and I will b glad that people won’t b walking past me wincing and pointing and every person who looks at it for their first time says oh that looks painfull awwww well ya don’t say lol and by the time it comes off will have had it on for 20 weeks so hang on in there and I will b leaving my next update after cage is off take care everyone and Zach you inspired me through my journey when I first read your story so thanks man big love xxxx

      Like

      • Matthew thank you for this update! I’m so glad that you’ve got some good progress and looking at a brighter future.
        Oh how I remember not being able to find a comfortable way to sleep. Those nights were so long!
        Thank you for contributing. We help each other by sharing our stories for sure!
        Keep the updates coming!!

        Like

      • Matthew, glad you are healing up. Sounds like you have a great crew around you for support. Stay positive and be patient, you will get to your new norm and do well.

        Like

    • Oh man April! You’ve been going through a lot!
      Infection seems to be the normal situation and getting through it without infection seems to be more of the rare situation.
      I read about a lot of people who end up on IV antibiotics.

      Like

      • Hi Zach did not think you would answer so quick so I had to put in another comment I have been very lucky as to have had only 1 pin site that got infected and that was only one pin and in the shower my partner sprayed my ankle coz that was the location of the single pin site that was sore and she pressed it a bit gentle with a cotton bud and yes some stuff came out sprayed again with clean water and that is the one and only time I’ve had an infection very lucky as I’ve had a cage on for about 2 days short of 17 weeks my key with this was for the first 6 weeks every eve I done my pin site care with the gauzes and the pink alcohol soulution with gloves on then after that I did not do it every night but only if it was a shower night coz mine and my partners bedroom is upstairs I had a bedroom made up downstairs and shower is up there but can get up there ever since I came out of hospital coz I sit on bum and go up in reverse 😜 And let me say my partner has been my rock coz without her I don’t no where I’d b with my recovery and my two sons who are only 9 and 10 have been the best little carriers and fetches me and my partner have had our moments coz yeah it’s being the hardest thing I’ve ever had to try and overcome again big love to you all I wish you all well in recoveries and Zach I salute you for this site and your helpful comments and being there for me in some of what have been toughest days in my life X 😜😜😜😜

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  44. Hi again everyone! I posted my story a few weeks ago. I don’t have anything much to update you all on but I do however have a question… did you guys gain a lot of weight during your recovery? This is a very intense injury that takes months and months to heal and im going on almost 3 months non weight barring. I feel like I’m packing on some pounds because I can’t really do much besides lay around all day.

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    • As Soon as i was cleared to drive (it was my left leg and I drive an automatic) I drove to my local CrossFit type gym and they started me on a series of work outs designed to be done non weight-bearing, mostly on my back & butt.
      The workouts were big help for my mental health. I made a resolution to get as much of my body in shape as I could to help me feel like I was doing something to oppose “badness” of my left ankle.
      Sadie Are you able to drive yet?

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      • Unfortunately I’m not able to drive yet since it was my right leg that I broke 😦 I’m just ready to get into better shape, I hate feeling lazy. Good news however, I go see my surgeon on Wednesday and he plans to finally allow me to PWB!!! After 3 months I’ll finally be able to bare some weight. Also I’ll be started physical therapy within a week or so!! Finally!!

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  45. I just experienced a pilon fracture June 10, 2017. Had surgery 6/16/17. Had never heard of a pilon fracture, & I’m an orthopedic surgery nurse! I started reading about pilon fractures about 4 or 5 days after the surgery, & promptly had a meltdown. Now the meltdowns creep up on me & pounce with little or no warning. All I did was step in a hole in the back yard – don’t even have an exciting story to tell! It’s like I’m grieving the death of my previous life, but that’s silly. I’m not paralyzed, I don’t have cancer, my leg wasn’t amputated. This level of immobility should be somewhat temporary. I have excellent family & friends caring for me. So WHAT THE HECK is wrong? Why am I crying all the time?

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    • I cried for 2 weeks straight. Its the first time i cried in like 15 years. All the literature is so negative. It seemed like amputation would be better. At least people with prosthetic lower legs can run.
      Fuck the literature. Thats why i created this blog. People get their lives back, and they adapt, and they find new appreciation for what they do have. They are also depressed and miserable some/a lot of the time.
      Hopefully your impact on the tibia was light and you will have a good recovery. You will likely habe a new appreciation for what your patients go through. I found my amazing surgeon had no clue about the emotional nightmare i was going through. They.are inhuman in this regard. I sought therapy. I went through grieving the “loss of my future life plans” like climbing mt Whitney, jogging, jumping rope, etc. I took up music, reading, exploring the world from an armchair via youtube, Wikipedia and the like. I watched every season of the office, scrubs, no reservations, etc. I focused on what i eas going to be able to do when i got off the crutches. I went for long drives, bike rides and, exercises that omitted the ankle..and other non weight bearing activities.
      Boating, kayaking, ping pong, darts, skiball, swimming, juggling, painting, etc.
      Pilon fractures get little external respect..and people wont give you enough sympathy for your prognosis. They say shit like “my friend broke her leg/ ankle and she was back to tennis in a few months. You will likely get tired of trying to convince people that this is a lifelong condition.
      We’re all in this together.
      Hang tough Rachel!

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      • Zach, I could not have explained it better, it’s not the end it’s a detour. It’s amazing how different and how similar we all are in dealing with this temporary setback. Staying positive is very important, knowing that what you are going through is temporary. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, it just takes a while to get there. Patience and staying positive will get you a long way. Good luck, try not to read the negative stuff.

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      • [if you don’t want to read my long, rambling post but want proof that online literature is bullshit: skip to the last part with the ***]

        Every time I come back to this site I am amazed at how similar our suffering is. Right now I’m blown away first reading Rachel’s post about meltdowns and grieving (that describes it perfectly!) and then Zach responding to her with tons more shit that went down exactly the same way for me.

        Seriously, if one more person at my family reunion told me about the person they knew and how quickly that person’s ankle healed I was going to slap someone. Even my wife (who has been an absolute angel giving blood, sweat, and tears over and over without the slightest complaint this whole time) even she got to some points where she became frustrated wondering if I was trying hard enough or pushing myself hard enough.

        Online literature sent me into a 2 week depression. Bad. Hadn’t cried since my grandma died when I was in high school. But I balled like a baby several times just feeling sorry for myself and grieving the loss of what I thought I was going to be and do.

        My brother snapped me out of it. When he was a teenager he drove a tiny Mitsubishi head-on into a Jeep Wrangler. He was going 55 and they were going 45. He car jumped off of a 20 foot embankment before coming to a stop. He pulverized 11 ribs, broke his pelvis in 3 places, bruised his heart, lacerated his liver, severely damaged his lungs (the 3 lobe had to be removed), etc etc. Dr’s told us he would probably die that night. But here he is 20 years later with zero long-term effects from his accident (except his crazy scars if he takes his shirt off) telling ME that these articles im reading online don’t know anything about ME and MY injury. They don’t know anything about YOU and YOUR injury.

        ************************************************************
        How do I know?
        Because I’m going back to work next week. Almost 4 months to the day of my injury I’m fully weight-bearing; no crutches, no boot.
        Am I limping? HELL YES! lol… and that sucks but when I think about all the days I just sat in my living room; tv off, laptop off, lights off, alone, in the middle of the day, again and again… on those days I was thinking that I had at least 6 months before I could even consider working again. Wrong. I thought I’d be on crutches or a wheelchair and having surgeries and pain for several more months. Wrong again. And again and again. Everything I read about this injury was wrong for me. And maybe it is for you too.

        Nate

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        • Nate and everyone,

          Boy do I understand the unbelievable amount of frustration we all have with this wonderful mesclun we joined. If I hear I am sorry or my friend or I broke one more time I might just scream.
          I am at 441 days post accident but who’s counting. Lol. I am heading into surgery number 11. I have had staph twice. External fixation to reposition leg. I how get fusion surgery.
          Through this all I fight to be positive and fight to move forward. I highly suggest to everyone to have a goal and to make your doctor work toward your goals. Trust me. Be open and honest and discuss everything including amputation.
          But fight and move forward today. If you need call me and I will push pull cry or help. We all can do this We all will get better.
          Todd 489-388-1985

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          • Hey Todd what you say makes me think about one of my best friends who fell 40 ft onto asphalt while he was unconscious. It was a skydiving accident. He broke both feet both legs both arms pelvis and he was in bed for about six months. And he told me all about how he had to manage all of his doctors and he had to be demanding and aggressive to get what he wanted and he did a lot of research so he knew where he was trying to get too. He had a goal. 10 years later the guys racing professional mountain bikes. He was not a mountain biker before he got hurt. He ran a mile just to prove he could even though he paid a huge price for it. He ran it on a treadmill at the gym. He walks like Frankenstein but you get that guy on a bicycle and you can’t keep up with him. He went to Switzerland and went hiking. He’s gone elk hunting in the backcountry. He will not stop. He says that the body will find a way.
            I’m pretty sure when he’s 10 to 15 years older he’s going to hurt worse, but he says he doesn’t give a shit! He’s living for today and he’ll just count on some solution when that time comes. He gives me a lot of optimism because he can always tell me I was there man but it was both feet and both ankles and you just got to be patient but push and you got to advocate for yourself.
            He’s a role model for sure.
            He encouraged me to become clean and sober, not that I was a real alcoholic or drug addict before but it was a way I could take a certain amount of control over my health and my body. I kicked drinking and I started eating good and I started working out and I started doing everything I could towards the physical Improvement to counteract this left ankle. I used to see it as I was 25% disabled or basically 25% dead but now I see it more like 10%.
            And some days I see it is only 5%!

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      • Thank you Zach! I’m still just 3 weeks post injury. 2 weeks post-op. Was able to get a cast yesterday, & after asking for a repeat X-ray on the Non-injured ankle, found that the left ankle also has a fracture, but just a mild one, nothing like the Pilon fx. So I now have a cast on the right & a boot on the left. Could be worse. The surgeon says that while the fracture is very severe (distal tibia smashed & split up the middle, fibula in 3-4 pieces, & talus in 3 pieces), that as a Pilon fracture, it isn’t that severe. That gave me a LOT of hope for the future. So I’m not having as many meltdowns, but know that may change depending on future complications. I turns out that the medication (anastrozole) I was taking after breast cancer to prevent a recurrence had suddenly started ravaging my bones until they were, as my surgeon put it, drywall. They kept crumbling when he would try to put in pins & screws. So that’s another issue to work on, or this could all happen again. Crud. By the way, how do you pronounce the word Pilon? I was saying “pie Lon”, but my surgeon says “pee Lon”. Would just like to know

        Like

    • I am a nurse at a trauma hospital and I had never heard of a pilon fracture either. I also stepped in a hole in the back yard. It’s surreal. I have a year old boy that I feel like everyone else gets to raise.

      Like

  46. I had a pilon fracture in November falling thru my attic onto the garage floor. I am 47 and having a hard time with recovery. Did you use an ankle brace for support

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  47. Well, I was in a head on collision 3 days before my birthday (just left from getting a massage). Girl went left of center on an “S” curve doing 60 in a 35 and hit me. Besides the pilon fracture on my right ankle, I also broke my left femur in 3 places and cracked my left kneecap (out the side of my leg).

    Accident was 2/10/17, knee surgery was 2/13. Surgery on back of right leg on 2/14 then had to wait a week due to swelling before they could do surgery on the front of my leg. Non weight bearing until 5/5 on BOTH legs. Just started walking with cane last week. Ankle swells up big time. I still have a weird tingling sensation on the bottom of my foot too which is really annoying and feels weird to walk on. Lots of discoloration (doesn’t help that got got sunburned a week ago either lol). Scars look great. Doc says it’s healing well. I’m actually having more issues with knee/femur but that’s another story. I start outpatient PT this week and I’m hoping to go back to work in August. Glad I ran across this and can read how others are recovering.

    Like

    • You know the one of the things I found in my reading was that this is a relatively new injury in car accidents since the advent of airbags. I guess the airbag saves the upper body but the lower extremities get slammed pretty hard. The thing is most people who sustained these ankle fractures were dead so they didn’t count them in the statistics. The airbag allows people to live through horrible accidents and so they’re collateral damage is pilon fractures and other leg fractures.
      I read such heartbreaking stories on here but that’s not what this is for. I didn’t create this blog to read people’s stories so I could feel better about myself… I created this blog so people could vent to other people who know what the hell you’re going through.
      Being non weight bearing on both legs sounds heartbreaking. I can’t imagine what that would be like. But when they say time heals all wounds I just reword that in my head to say time heals most wounds and time takes its sweet ass time LOL
      I wish you a speedy recovery!!

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  48. Hi, Zach and everyone else. I am now 14 months post-surgery. I am 58 years old. I’ve had the pain, disappointment and depression many of you speak of. But the last few months my ankle has greatly improved. Why? Not entirely sure. I do go to the gym six days a week which has strengthened my injured leg and improved overall fitness. I just finished a mile walk with only minimal discomfort and little residual swelling. I’m checking in to lend support. Things can and will get better. Time is our ally. Please keep the faith. Zach, this site is amazing. You and our pilon brothers and sisters motivate me every day.

    Like

    • Hey Randall this is great news! I’m two and a half years after my injury and this month is the first time I have walked around without my ankle brace since the beginning. I have some soreness, but regardless, in the last two weeks I have been quite mobile. I have no belief that my ankle is getting better, I just believe that it’s stabilizing and I have learned to move in a careful way.

      I also tell myself that my success lately is in large part due to the fact that I have very carefully babied my ankle in everything I’ve done for the last two-and-a-half years and given it way more time to heal than what the doctors recommended.

      I have a friend who’s suffered similar injury- it’s been 10 years and he is still mobile. though he has a lot of pain he really believes the body will continue to try to find a way!

      Like

  49. I am 6 weeks since my surgery and I am about to start PT. Apparently the doctor thinks I should only be useing ibuprofen and Tylenol from now on. It is my primary care doctor and I think she doesn’t understand this kind of fracture. My foot and leg are still very swollen and purple. And there is nerve damage and I don’t have feeling in part of my foot and leg. I only used the narcotics twice a day when it gets really bad. And this is not moving my leg and keeping it elevated most of the day. But they want me to start PT now. I am wondering what people took for pain management and how long did u take this medication. What medication did u use for/during PT? What strength?

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    • Hi! I took nothing but Tylenol around 3 weeks onwards and i took the maximum amount per day. They warned me that I’d become addicted to the painkillers so I got off of them as soon as I could.
      I started PT around the same time as you. It was nothing more than gentle massage of the area around the sutures so that they didn’t adhere and become hard scar tissue that would later affect Mobility. They also had me very gently move my ankle around but that was almost insignificant.
      I didn’t know that Primary Care people could take over so soon. My surgeon was my only contact for 1 year regarding my injury.
      I guess I’d say watch out for addiction issues… We don’t have to do exactly what our dr’s say, but they are the experts in these sort of things.

      Like

      • Did u take ibuprofen? My surgeon said no at my last appointment but my primary are prescribed a large does. I have a call to my surgeon to ok it, I haven’t taken any yet. I understand addiction is an issue but I’d rather deal with that and be able to make dinner for my family and take care of my 1 year old. I was only taking the narcotic twice a day because I would just deal with most of the pain. Anyway thanks for your thing here. It helps and also makes it more scary. I figured 9-12 months and I’d have my life back. Guess I should lower my expectations

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        • I read that Ibuprofen slows healing of Bones. My wife’s a nurse and she confirmed that. She looked in her up to date or PubMed and ibuprofen was noted as something to avoid during healing.

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        • My doctor didn’t allow me to have any NSAIDs (like ibuprofen or aleive) til I was 10 weeks post op. I used Percocet until then and weaned myself off over the course of a week. I had such unpleasant side effects from the Percocet (crying all the time, constipation) I had no desire to keep using it beyond when it was prescribed. After that I did Tylenol but it really didn’t help that much. I guess I have a low tolerance for pain because I was in terrible pain til about 8-10 weeks. I would listen to your surgeon over your primary care doctor. Apparently NSAIDs slow healing quite a bit.

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    • Hang in there alittlehope. I am also 7 weeks after surgery. I start aqua therapy for 6 weeks, then 6 weeks of regular therapy. This is after 7 months of healing and 12 weeks of physical therapy. The Tibia was not healing so 7 weeks ago I had surgery to put in screws and plates. I was on Percocet for 3 weeks. Was very comfortable. Then the nursing staff changed my pain meds to Norco 10’s. All I can say is opiod drug overdose. I ended up in the hospital. My kidneys were not able to get rid of the Norco fast enough, resulting in overdose.
      So please be very careful with your pain meds.
      I truly believed that I was going to die.
      So now it’s just over the counter pain relievers for me.
      In time I will be able to walk again. I am not sure if it will be pain free, but I will not stop until I can walk. I will not let this ruin my life.
      Stay positive and keep working on getting to the other side of this injury.

      Like

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