A Broken Pelvis Guide

A broken pelvis is a serious, traumatic injury, one which has a fairly high mortality rate, especially in elderly people. If you have suffered a broken pelvis you will need to seek fractured pelvis NHS immediately. This short guide covers the symptoms, causes, treatment, complications and prognosis of a broken pelvis.

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What is a Broken Pelvis?

A pelvic fracture picture would show that one of the four bones of the pelvis, the hip bone, pelvis, sacrum and coccyx has been fractured. Most commonly caused by a slip, trip or fall, especially in elderly people, this is a serious traumatic injury that can have life-threatening consequences.

Broken Pelvis Key Facts

Your pelvis is the large girdle of bone, made up of several different bones, and when you suffer a pelvic fracture one or more of these bones will be broken. There are four separate types of pelvic fracture, and these are:

  • Unstable – this is a major injury, usually caused by significant levels of blunt trauma.
  • Simple – a much less severe injury, again, usually caused by direct trauma force.
  • Pelvic stress fractures – this injury is caused by stress and will display hairline pelvic fracture symptoms.
  • Pelvic avulsion fractures – this kind of fracture occurs when a muscle constricts so strongly, that a part of one of the pelvic bones is broken away.

Most people who have suffered a broken pelvis make a good recovery and are able to walk again within a few months. But with a fractured pelvis elderly often find that they will lose some amount of mobility after a fractured pelvic bone.

A pelvic fracture can range from mild to life-threatening, depending on how many bones were broken, and how severely. The graph below shows that an open pelvic fracture is the most dangerous of all, with 45% of patients dying due to the shock, trauma and associated injuries.

Broken Pelvis Graph

Broken Pelvis Statistics

What are the Signs and Symptoms of a Broken Pelvis?

To answer the question, what does a broken pelvis feel like? Painful is the single word to sum it up. A broken pelvis hurts, even when immobile. Standing or walking will usually be unbearably painful. Other broken pelvis symptoms include:

  • Pain in a number of different areas, such as the groin, lower back, buttocks, pelvis or hip. This may be limited to one area or be in multiple places.
  • You might be able to see some swelling and bruising somewhere on or around your pelvis, although not always is this visible.
  • A strange sensation such as pins and needles or numbness in the thigh or the genital area.

What Are the Most Common Causes of a Broken Pelvis?

There are several common causes of one of the four types of pelvic fracture visible in broken pelvis pictures, and these include:

  • Trauma injuries, such as a car crash, or falling from a moderate height. These will typically be unstable fractures, and you must seek fracture of pelvis treatment
  • Slips, trips or falls, often result in an open book pelvic fracture. This is a common way that elderly people fracture their pelvis, and also people with medical conditions that leave them with weakened bones.
  • Sporting injuries are a common cause of pelvic avulsion fractures. The stresses put on the pelvic bones by the large muscle groups which attach to them can physically break a piece of bone away. Certain sports which require a rapid and aggressive compression of these muscles carry a high risk of a pelvic avulsion fracture, such as long jump, sprinting, and hurdling. Sporting injuries are also a common cause of pelvic stress fractures, where the repeated overstressing of the bones leads to a hairline fracture forming.

When Should You Seek Medical Care for a Broken Pelvis?

If you have broken your pelvis, you will definitely need to seek broken pelvis treatment. The pain of the injury will undoubtedly let you know that something is seriously wrong, and you will naturally wish to visit the hospital to get some treatment.

In some cases, it may be possible to overlook much of the pain, such as following the shock of a serious car crash. If you are involved in such a crash, and one of the victims is complaining of stomach, hip, or chest pain, then this could be the sign of a fractured pelvis, make sure they seek medical aid straight away.

How to Get a Free Expert Orthopaedic Assessment for Your Broken Bone Report

As part of your fractured pelvis treatment when you visit the hospital, a series of x-rays or other scans will be made, to help the doctor decide whether or not you have actually broken your pelvis, and if so, how badly. The results of this test will be used by the doctor to create a broken bone report. This report is used as the basis for deciding the exact treatment your injury requires.

You are well within your rights to ask for a copy of this broken bone report. Once you have it, we might be able to help you get a free expert orthopaedic assessment of your fractured pelvis broken bone report. Give us a call, and we will be able to quickly tell you whether you are eligible for a free expert orthopaedic assessment in your area.

How is a Broken Pelvis Diagnosed?

When a fractured pelvis is suspected, before treatment can be applied and broken pelvis recovery begins, the injury must be diagnosed. The first stage of diagnosis will be in the form of a medical examination. A doctor will review your injury, ask you questions about how it happened and the symptoms you are displaying. If the doctor suspects that you have broken your pelvis, one of five types of tests will be called for, depending on the type of fracture suspected. These are:

  • X-ray – most broken pelvis injuries will show up on an x-ray, and this is the general method used to find out how serious the break is. However, if the doctor suspects there are more serious injuries associated with your broken pelvis, such as organ and tissue damage, an x-ray will not show them.
  • CT scan – when an x-ray cannot show enough information, a CT scan can help to uncover the subtler effects of your fractured pelvis. A CT scan can also uncover tissue and organ damage.
  • MRI scan – if a hairline fracture of the pelvis is suspected, an MRI scan might be called for. This medical test is particularly good at showing small hairline fractures not visible to either an x-ray or CT scan.
  • Ultrasound scan – if the doctor suspects significant organ and tissue damage alongside the fractured pelvis, an ultrasound will be used to find out how bad this damage is.
  • Radioisotope scans – for the tiniest hairline fractures, even an MRI scan may not pick them up. A radioisotope scan literally lights up and small fractures in the bone.

How is a Broken Pelvis Treated?

To answer the question, can a fractured pelvis heal itself? No, it cannot. This is a serious injury that will always require advanced treatment to heal. Unlike other fractures, such as a leg or an arm, the pelvis cannot be 100% immobilised whilst it heals. Recovery from a broken pelvis begins in one of two ways:

  • Traction – the patient is confined to bed, and a series of pins in the bones, are connected to a series of pulleys so that the broken bone pieces are pulled back into alignment so that they can heal fully. In some cases, traction is all that is required, along with the associated bed rest. However, this is rare.
  • Internal fixation – surgical fixing such as screw, pins, plates and rods are inserted into the pelvic bones during broken pelvis surgery. In most cases, these surgical fixings will be left in permanently, as the surgery to remove them is too intrusive. Traction may also be used after internal fixation in some extreme cases.

Fractured pelvis pain management is an important aspect of the treatment of a broken pelvis. This is a serious, painful injury. In the first stages of treatment, you may be given an epidural anaesthetic to deal with the initial pain. After this, strong painkillers are used during the initial week or two, when pain is most severe.

Blood thinners are also often prescribed, to lessen the risk of blood clots forming in the injured area, which if they were to move, could have terminal consequences.

What Free Private Treatment Can I Qualify For?

In order to make the best recovery from a fractured pelvis and have the best chance of walking after pelvic fracture, private medical treatment is usually far better than NHS offerings. But of course, private treatment is expensive.

However, some people may be eligible to receive some level of free private medical treatment, depending on where they live. If you would like to know if there is any free medical treatment available in your area, then give us a call and we can take your postcode, and find out if you have access to any free private medical care.

Caring for Your Broken Pelvis at Home

Being such a serious injury, most people suffering from a fractured pelvis spend at least some time in the hospital at the start of their treatment. For pelvic fracture treatment bed rest is an absolute vital phase, and this is best done under the supervision of medical staff.

However, once you have completed the initial phase of your recovery, you will likely be sent home from the hospital, with instructions on how to continue caring for your broken pelvis at home.

Initially, bed rest will be called for, but in time, you may be given a pair of crutches or a wheelchair to help you get about. This is important, not simply to make your life easier, but also to ensure that you are getting a little exercise, to help prevent blood clots forming.

One important consideration, is the question, how to sleep with a fractured pelvis? You must listen to your doctor’s advice regarding this question. A broken pelvis is painful, but it needs to heal properly. It may be that the most comfortable, painless way to sleep is actually detrimental to your recovery

Is There Any Other Good Treatment I Can Get for Free?

You may be eligible to claim some additional free private medical care for your Broken Pelvis. For example, you might be able to receive a free wheelchair, to help you get around whilst your hip is healing.

Call us now, and we can let you know almost immediately if we think there is any additional free private medical care available in your area.

Follow Up for a Broken Pelvis

The follow up for a broken pelvis is quite complex. Initially, you will be spending a week or maybe more in hospital, to make sure that your condition is stable, and that your fracture is beginning to heal properly.

Once you are sent home, you will be required to visit the hospital approximately once every 2 weeks. This is to check that your healing is coming along properly and that no complications have set in.

How Long Does a Broken Pelvis Take to Heal?

When considering a broken pelvis how long to heal depends on a number of factors. The age of the patient, the severity of the injury, and the general level of health the patient has. However, broken pelvis recovery time is long as this is a serious injury. The bones will have begun to heal within 4 weeks, however, it is unlikely you will be allowed to walk without some form of aid before the 12-week mark. Full rehabilitation can take several months to over a year. The broken pelvis recovery time elderly typically exhibits can be even longer.

How Can I Recover Safer and Possibly Faster?

A broken pelvis is a serious injury, which takes many months to recuperate and rehabilitate from. In the rehabilitation phase, good physiotherapy is a must-have treatment. These pelvic fracture recovery exercises will help you regain the muscle strength and the personal confidence to return to a full and active life.

NHS physio is fine, but private physio is better. There may be an offer of free private physiotherapy available in your area. Call us today, so we can take your postcode and find out if there is any free private physio available to you.

What is the Prognosis for a Broken Pelvis?

This is a hard question to answer. For younger people, with mild fractures, the prognosis is good and most return to a fully active life with no loss of function or mobility.

However, at the more extreme end of the scale, elderly people with a more serious fracture may never actually recover 100%, there will likely be at least some loss of mobility.

For serious traumatic injuries such as open fractures of the pelvis, the prognosis could be even direr. In these cases, the injury can lead to death in a startlingly high percentage of cases.

What are the Possible Complications of a Broken Pelvis?

There are a number of complications that can set in with a broken pelvis. Furthermore, fractured pelvis treatment elderly receive can often cause problems of its own. Typical complications of a fractured pelvis are:

  • Blood loss – this can be a life-threatening complication if treatment for an open fracture is not received quickly enough.
  • Infection – usually caused by the surgery used to insert medical fixtures for use with internal fixation treatment.
  • Damage to internal organs – the large bones of the pelvis can move, bruising or even piercing vital organs.
  • Internal bleeding – if the broken bones have damaged the tissue in the pelvic region.

Do You Think Your Doctor Might Have Missed Something About Your Injury?

If you believe that there has been some form of mistake or oversight made during the treatment of your fractured pelvis, then you will need to learn more about your injury and its treatment, so that you can make an informed judgement. All of these websites below have additional information pertaining to pelvic fractures:

Pelvic Fracture – Physiotherapy After Surgery – King’s College Hospital

Pelvic Fractures Information – Shere Surgery

Fractured Pubic Rami Information – Sheffield Teaching Hospitals

Are There Any Long-Term Health Issues Caused by a Broken Pelvis?

There are a number of long-term effects of a broken pelvis, predominantly related to unstable fractures, and these can include:

  • Chronic pain – many sufferers of serious pelvic fractures have to deal with chronic pain for the rest of their lives. This requires specialised pain management to live with.
  • Limping – in the medium-term, it can take a lot of time for the muscles around the pelvis to heal and build strength. A limp might be apparent for several years after the original injury.
  • Erectile dysfunction – due to the number of nerves in the pelvic region related to sexual pleasure, damage to these can result in a problem becoming aroused or reaching orgasm.
  • Reduced mobility – even broken pelvis injuries that heal well, will often leave the hip joint functioning at less capacity, making it harder to walk.

These are just a handful of the possible long-term health effects of a fractured pelvis, there are many more. You should discuss your injury with your doctor, and they will be able to warn you of any potential problems further down the line after you have recovered from your factored pelvis.

Contact Us to Find Out if You Qualify for Free Private Treatment

If you have suffered a broken pelvis, you will already know that this is a serious, painful injury that will take quite some time to heal, and even longer to recuperate fully from, if ever.

Private medical treatment can help to ensure that you recover rapidly, and fully from your broken pelvis. However, this kind of treatment can cost a lot of money.

What you probably don’t know, is that there are many offers of free private medical treatment available in some areas of the country. This could be something simple, like a free wheelchair that has been fitted to you personally. It could be access to a free private orthopaedic assessment of the broken bone report for your fractured pelvis. It might even be some comprehensive free private physiotherapy to help with your rehabilitation once the broken pelvis has healed.

If you would like to find out about any free private health care is available in your area, then just give us a call and tell us your postcode. We will be able to let you know very quickly whether we believe there is any free private medical treatment you are eligible for.