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A pelvic fracture is a break in a hip bone. The pelvis is the butterfly-shaped group of hip bones located at the base of your spine. It forms one major ring and two smaller rings of bone that support and protect your internal organs.
Pelvic fractures are often caused by high-speed car or motorcycle crashes. Older people and those with osteoporosis are at risk of fracturing their pelvic bones in a fall. Pelvic fractures can take multiple forms:
- A stable fracture involves one break in the pelvic ring with minimal bleeding.
- An unstable fracture involves two or more breaks in the pelvic ring with moderate to severe bleeding.
Pelvic fractures are classified as either open or closed. In an open fracture, the bone breaks through the skin.
Your doctor will use an x-ray to assess the severity of a fracture. Minor pelvic fractures usually heal in several weeks. They do not require surgery. Pain medication and physical therapy may be recommended. A severe pelvic fracture usually requires surgery and an extended recovery time. Complications of a severe case can be serious and even life-threatening.
The primary symptom of a pelvic fracture is pain in the groin, hip, or lower back. This pain may worsen when you move your legs.
Other symptoms include:
- abdominal pain
- numbness or tingling in the groin or legs
- bleeding from the vagina, urethra or rectum
- difficulty urinating
- difficulty walking or standing