Pelvic Fracture

By Ehren Allen, Certified Manual Therapist/ Physical Therapist

Pelvic Fracture

Pelvic Anatomy


Image of the Hip and Pelvis

The pelvis is a large bony structure in the lower abdomen which supports much of the structure of the body. Technically there are 3 bones on each side which make up the pelvis. These are the Ilium, the ischium, and the Pubis. The thigh bone (femur) connects to the pelvis in a socket on each side (Hip joint). The Spine connects to the pelvis at the ilium with joints called Sacroiliac joints. A fracture in any part of the pelvic can cause issues with other areas.

Can you walk around with a broken pelvis?

Pelvic fractures typically hurt! Often, a fractured pelvis occurs with trauma such as a car crash or a fall. It is possible to walk with a pelvic fracture but it depends on where the fracture is. If the fracture is in an area that supports a lot of weight, then it would likely be too painful to walk. Some people can walk with the assistance of a walker or crutches.

How long does it take to recover from a fractured pelvis?

With mild fractures of the pelvis, healing usually takes between 6 to 10 weeks. With severe fractures, it can be much longer. Some pelvic fractures require surgery to repair. Those may require significantly more time to heal.
Because the pelvis is has a round ring shape, when it is fractured, there is often a second fracture site that must heal within the pelvis as well.

How do you know if you fractured your pelvis?

If there is pain in or around the pelvis, and there was trauma, a pelvis fracture is possible. If there is already thinning of bone (osteoporosis), then fractures are more likely with trauma. Pelvic fractures are typically diagnosed with an X-ray. CT scans are sometimes used if the X-ray is not definitive.

Why are pelvic fractures life threatening? How serious is a pelvic fracture?

Severe pelvic fractures can be very dangerous. There are major blood vessels and nerves that run through the pelvis and a severe fracture could compromise one of them. With major trauma to the pelvis, a thorough medical evaluation should be performed.

Is a fractured pelvis the same as a broken hip?

A pelvic fracture is different than a hip fracture. A pelvic fracture involves the bones of the pelvis. A hip fracture typically refers to a fracture of the top part of the thigh bone (femur). The femur attaches to the pelvis in a socket called the acetabulum. The socket is not always involved with a hip fracture. It is possible to fracture both in extreme circumstances.


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