Pelvic Fractures: Causes And Treatment Options
By TOI Staff February 22, 2023 Update on : February 22, 2023
A pelvic fracture is one of the least common bone fractures. It involves one or more breaks along the bones in your pelvis. Mild ones usually heal quickly with proper care and medication, while severe ones require surgery and longer rests.
The pelvis is a bone structure below the abdomen, sitting between your hip bones, spine, and legs. It supports your abdominal organs and transfers the weight of your upper body to your limbs. When it’s fractured, it may cause severe pain and bleeding. Therefore, immediate medical attention is required.
Here are the common causes of pelvic fractures and treatment options.
Causes Of Pelvic Fractures
Although pelvic fractures are uncommon, it doesn’t lower your risk of experiencing one. Sometimes, even going on your everyday tasks can lead to fracture-causing accidents. Having pelvic stabilizing units at home, work, or while traveling can help you respond to this type of emergency.
Intensive Athletic Activities
Intensive athletic activities can cause pelvic fractures. Even well-trained athletes are at risk of pelvic avulsion, especially during constant training. Pelvic avulsion involves tearing away a tendon or ligament while it takes a small piece of pelvic bone it’s attached to. Hairline cracks or stable fractures are also common when playing sports.
High-impact accidents are the most common causes of pelvic fractures. Since the pelvis has a stable structure, pressure, and impact can lead to breakage. Here are some examples:
- Car Collision: A car crash often causes pelvic fracture due to the pressure applied on the hips, limbs, or directly on the pelvis. The severity of the breakage depends on the patient’s position during the collision.
- Fall And Slip: Falling from a particular height or slipping on the floor can cause a pelvic fracture. The impact can break the bone, especially for older adults with brittle bones.
These high-impact accidents may also cause other bone fractures, so seeking immediate medical attention is best.
Bone-weakening conditions, like osteoporosis, can put one at higher risk of pelvic fracture. One wrong move or a simple slip and fall can break the bones.
The treatment options suitable for pelvic fractures depend on their severity. For instance, a stable fracture, or a single crack, may only require non-surgical treatment. However, an unstable pelvic fracture involving two or more breaks may require surgical treatment and a longer time to recuperate.
Mild pelvic fractures usually heal with non-surgical treatments. After a diagnosis, a medical professional may prescribe the following:
- Walking Aid: When the fracture is stable, and there’s zero to minimal bleeding, a walking aid may be enough to help it heal. Using a walking aid, like clutches, canes, or a wheelchair, eases the pressure on your pelvis, which reduces the pain.
- Medication: Along with a recommended walking aid and proper rest, your doctor may also prescribe medication. It may include a pain reliever and a blood thinner to minimize the risks of blood clots.
Pelvic fractures, even mild ones, can lead to severe health problems and impede your function. If you suspect having one, seek medical attention to get a proper diagnosis and treatment.
Surgical treatment is often required for unstable pelvic fractures or ones that involve two or more breakage along the pelvis. These conditions usually take months to heal fully. Some of the common treatment options are the following:
- External Fixation: This procedure involves using metal pins and screws inserted through small skin and muscle incisions. These external fixators provide support to stabilize the broken pelvic bones until they fully heal.
- Skeletal Traction: This procedure involves implanting metal pins in the thighbone to position the leg. The traction uses weights and counterweights to realign the broken pelvic bones and relieve pain.
- Open Reduction And Internal Fixation: This operation involves repositioning the bone fragments and fixing them with screws to the outer part of the pelvis.
A series of tests and medications usually follow these surgical treatments to avoid complications and infections. It may also require bed rests or using walking aids, like a wheelchair, especially in the first few days and weeks of recovery.
After the necessary treatment, a patient may need further assistance to regain normal body function. One may need to learn how to walk again, especially those who have gone through a severe accident.
Physical therapy is a helpful treatment for those recovering from pelvic fractures. It can help restore motion around your hip and even strengthen your lower body through exercises. This way, you can regain your daily function.
Proper therapy can also help manage pain and discomfort. During recovery, some patients may experience chronic pain. Some exercises and stretches can help reduce aches around your pelvis and hips.
Pelvic fracture is a treatable condition. Getting a proper first-aid tool to stabilize the pelvis after an accident and seeking immediate medical attention and further treatment are crucial steps to saving lives.