Most pelvic fractures are from high-energy forces such as car accidents, crush accidents and falls. These can be life-threatening and require surgery.
Pelvis fractures occur in the sturdy ring-like structure of bones at the lower end of the trunk, between the abdomen and the thighs that anchors the muscles of the hip, thigh, and abdomen. Several bones unite to form the pelvis, including the sacrum, coccyx (tail bone), and the left and right coxal (hip) bones.
The bones of the adult pelvis join together to form four joints: the left and right sacroiliac joints, the sacrococcygeal joint, and the pubic symphysis. Many digestive and reproductive organs are located within the pelvic ring, and with all these vital structures, a pelvic fracture can be quite serious and associated with substantial bleeding, nerve injury and internal organ damage.
Those at risk include:
- Young athletes are one group at risk for pelvic fractures. Many “pulled muscles” are actually undetected fractures in the pelvis that occur during muscle contractions. A small piece of bone from the ischium where the hamstring muscles attach can be torn away by these muscles.
- Older people with osteoporosis are also at risk, especially if they fall from a standing position, such as when they are getting out of the bathtub or going down a set of stairs.