Pelvic Fracture

What is it?

A pelvic fracture is when one or more of the pelvic (hip) bones are broken. Your pelvis is made up of five bones, shaped in a circle. The five bones are the sacrum, coccyx, ilium, pubis, and ischium. Your pelvis protects and supports organs inside your body.

Causes:

Many pelvic fractures are caused by an accident that happens at high speed, like a car accident or falling from a great height. Some pelvic fractures are caused by minor falls or injuries. An athlete may injure his hip when a sudden movement causes the muscle to tear away a piece of hip bone. These are called avulsion fractures.

Signs and symptoms:

Signs and symptoms of a pelvic fracture depend on the part of the pelvis that is fractured. You may have life-threatening injuries if your pelvic fracture was caused by a high speed injury. Serious injuries may have happened to your chest, head, neck, kidney, and other organs inside your abdomen. Pelvic avulsion fractures do not usually cause any other life threatening injuries. Signs and symptoms of a broken pelvis include:

  • Bruising and tenderness over one or more of your pelvic bones.

  • Swelling in one or more of the areas over your pelvic bones.

  • Numbness or tingling in your genital area or in your upper thighs.

  • Discomfort or pain when you stand.

Care:

  • You may be taken to the ER, intensive care unit (ICU), to surgery, or to another place in the hospital. The pelvic fracture may need to be fixed with surgery or by putting pins into the bones from the outside. This is called external fixation. If you go to surgery, and if you have other injuries, these may also be fixed.

  • Pelvic avulsion fractures usually can be treated with bed rest, using crutches or a walker, and pain medicine. If you have this kind of fracture, you may have to avoid putting weight on the hip bone until it heals.

  • No matter what kind of pelvic fracture you have, you may have to limit your activity for several months. When you are not active, you are at a higher risk of getting blood clots in your body. Because of this, you may need to take blood thinner medicine to prevent getting blood clots. You may also need crutches or a walker, and you may need to go to physical therapy. Physical therapy helps your bones heal better and helps strengthen your muscles.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2013 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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