Patient Education

To help you understand and navigate through your orthopedic health decisions, we have created a patient education section. Please select from one of the categories below to learn more about your condition or procedure.
Pelvis Fractures

Pelvic fractures are serious injuries involving breaks or cracks in the bones of the pelvis, which can range from minor fractures to severe, potentially life-threatening injuries. The pelvis is a ring-like structure formed by several bones, including the ilium, ischium, pubis, and sacrum, which protect the organs in the pelvic cavity and provide attachment points for muscles and ligaments. Here’s an overview of pelvic fractures, including causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation:

Common Symptoms

  • Pain: Severe pain in the pelvis or lower back, aggravated by movement.
  • Swelling: Swelling and tenderness over the pelvic area.
  • Difficulty Walking: Inability to bear weight on the affected leg(s).
  • Bruising: Visible bruising or discoloration around the pelvic region.
  • Abdominal Pain: Pain or tenderness in the abdomen, which can indicate associated organ injury.

Cause & Anatomy

  • High-energy Trauma: Motor vehicle accidents, falls from height, or direct impact injuries, such as from sports accidents or crushing injuries.
  • Low-energy Trauma: Fractures can also occur from minor falls or osteoporotic bone weakening, especially in older adults.


  • Physical Examination: Assessment of symptoms, tenderness, and swelling over the pelvic bones.
  • Imaging Tests: X-rays are typically the initial imaging modality to identify fractures. CT scans may be used for more detailed assessment, especially for complex fractures or to assess for associated injuries.

Pelvic fractures are classified based on their stability and location:

  • Stable Fractures: Minimal disruption of the pelvic ring, typically involving one bone.
  • Unstable Fractures: Severe disruption of the pelvic ring, involving multiple bones and potentially unstable ligamentous injuries.

Non-Surgical Treatment

  • Stable Fractures: Stable fractures may be managed non-surgically with bed rest, pain management, and mobility restrictions for a period of time until healing occurs.

Surgical Treatments

Unstable Fractures: Unstable fractures often require surgical intervention to stabilize the pelvic ring and restore alignment. Surgical techniques may include:

  • External Fixation: Application of external frames or rods to stabilize the pelvis externally.
  • Internal Fixation: Surgical placement of screws, plates, or rods to internally stabilize the fractures.


  • Early Mobilization: Gradual initiation of weight-bearing activities under the guidance of a physical therapist to prevent complications such as stiffness and muscle weakness.
  • Physical Therapy: Rehabilitation includes exercises to strengthen the muscles around the pelvis, improve range of motion, and regain functional mobility.
  • Assistive Devices: Use of walkers or crutches initially to support mobility, transitioning to normal gait as healing progresses.


  • Internal Bleeding: Severe pelvic fractures can cause significant bleeding from major blood vessels within the pelvis.
  • Organ Injury: Fractures can sometimes be associated with injury to nearby organs, such as the bladder, urethra, or intestines.
  • Infection: Risk of infection, particularly with open fractures or surgical procedures.

Long-Term Outlook

  • Prognosis: Recovery from pelvic fractures varies widely depending on the severity of the injury, associated injuries, and the individual’s overall health. Early diagnosis, appropriate treatment, and comprehensive rehabilitation can significantly improve outcomes.
  • Follow-Up: Regular follow-up visits with a healthcare provider are essential to monitor healing progress, manage complications, and address long-term rehabilitation needs.


Pelvic fractures are serious injuries that require prompt medical evaluation and appropriate management to minimize complications and facilitate recovery. Treatment decisions are based on the specific characteristics of the fracture and the individual’s overall health. Collaboration with an orthopedic specialist and physical therapist is crucial for developing a personalized treatment and rehabilitation plan tailored to the patient’s needs.


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