A fractured pelvis is the term used when the pelvic bone located at the base of the spine is broken. In many cases, the injury that causes a fractured pelvis can also damage organs, nerves, and blood vessels near the pelvis.
There are different types of pelvic fractures, and they may be categorized as:
- Stable: only one break in the pelvic ring and the broken ends of the bones line up
- Unstable: generally, there are two or more breaks in the pelvic ring and the ends of the broken bones do not line up correctly (displacement)
Treatment for a fractured pelvis depends on the type of pelvic fracture and its severity.
Mild pelvic fractures may be treated with:
- Use a cold gel pack, bag of ice, or bag of frozen vegetables
- Apply to the injured area every 1 to 2 hours, for 15 minutes each time
- Put a thin towel between the ice and the skin
- Use the ice for at least 6 hours after the injury
- It may be helpful to ice for up to 2 days following an injury
- Walking aids such as crutches or a walker for up to three months
- Wheelchair if the injuries are above both legs
- Over-the-counter (OTC) pain medicines
Severe pelvic fractures may be treated with:
- A splint or other binding material around the pelvis to hold it in place
- Prescription pain medication
- Blood thinners (anticoagulants) to prevent blood clots from forming in the deep veins of the pelvis and legs
- Surgery to put the pelvis back in the correct position
- External fixation: stabilizes the pelvic area
- Skeletal traction: a pulley system of weights and counterweights that helps realign the pieces of bone
- Open reduction and internal fixation: displaced bone fragments are repositioned (reduced) into their normal alignment and then held together with screws or metal plates attached to the outer surface of the bone
- Physical therapy following surgery to strengthen muscles around the pelvis and work on bending, walking, and climbing stairs
What Are Symptoms of a Fractured Pelvis?
Symptoms of a pelvic fracture can include:
- Pain is worsened by moving the hip or walking
- Trouble walking or pain when walking
- Weakness or loss of feeling in the legs
What Causes a Fractured Pelvis?
Causes of a fractured pelvis can include:
How Is a Fractured Pelvis Diagnosed?
A fractured pelvis is diagnosed with a patient history and physical examination, along with imaging tests such as:
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