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Pelvic Fracture


What is a pelvic fracture?

A pelvic fracture is a break in 1 or more of your 5 pelvic (hip) bones. This also includes a fracture of the acetabulum, the part of your pelvis that makes up your hip joint. Pelvic fractures can be caused by a car accident or a fall from a great height. Some pelvic fractures are caused by minor falls or injuries.

What are the signs and symptoms of a pelvic fracture?

  • Pain and tenderness in your pelvic bone area
  • Bruising and swelling over your pelvic bones
  • Numbness or tingling in your genital area or in your upper thighs
  • Discomfort or pain when you sit, stand, walk, or have a bowel movement

How is a pelvic fracture diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will examine your pelvic area. He will also check the range of motion of your hip. An x-ray or CT scan of your pelvis is used to check for broken bones. You may be given a dye before the scan. Tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye.

How is a pelvic fracture treated?

Treatment depends on the kind of fracture you have. You may need any of the following:

  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely.
  • Bed rest will be needed while your fracture heals.
  • Apply ice on your hip for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.
  • Crutches or a walker may be needed to keep weight off your hip bone until it heals.
  • An external fixation device may be put on your hips to hold the broken bones together while they heal. Screws or a clamp will be used to hold the device to your pelvic bones.
  • Surgery may be needed for a severe pelvic fracture. Metal pins, screws, or plates may be used to hold your pelvic bone together.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • Your skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash.
  • Your pain or swelling increases.
  • You have new symptoms.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care or call 911?

  • You feel lightheaded, short of breath, and have chest pain.
  • You cough up blood.
  • Your leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.

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 healthcare providers 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.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.