The pelvis is the sturdy ring of bones located at the base of the spine. Fractures of the pelvis are uncommon accounting for only about 3% of all adult fractures.
Most pelvic fractures are caused by some type of traumatic, high-energy event, such as a car collision. Because the pelvis is in proximity to major blood vessels and organs, pelvic fractures may cause extensive bleeding and other injuries that require urgent treatment.
In some cases, a lower-impact event such as a minor fall may be enough to cause a pelvic fracture in an older person who has weaker bones.
Treatment for a pelvic fracture varies depending on the severity of the injury. While lower-energy fractures can often be managed with conservative care, treatment for high-energy pelvic fractures usually involves surgery to reconstruct the pelvis and restore stability so that patients can resume their daily activities.
A stable pelvic fracture is almost always painful. Pain in the hip or groin is usual and is made worse by moving the hip or trying to walk although walking may still be possible. Some patients find if they try to keep one hip or knee bent this can ease the pain.
Other symptoms will vary with severity. They may include:
- Pain and tenderness in the groin, hip, lower back, buttock or pelvis.
- Bruising and swelling over the pelvic bones.
- Numbness or tingling in the genital area or in the upper thighs.
- Pain which may also be present on sitting and when having a bowel movement.