Broken Tailbone or Coccyx Fracture.

Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

A Broken Tailbone is a fracture of the Coccyx. Coccyx is a triangular shaped bone located at the very end of the spine. Common causes of its fracture are, if a person falls directly on to the tailbone in a seated position or during childbirth.

Broken Tailbone or Coccyx Fracture

Symptoms of a Broken Tailbone

  • Pain in the coccyx area after direct trauma or fall on to the coccyx area.
  • Pain upon sitting.
  • Bruising in the tail bone area.
  • Swelling in the tail bone area.
  • Patient may also have nausea.
  • Pain may be there during bowel movements.
  • Pain may be there during sexual intercourse.

Causes of a Broken Tailbone

  • Direct trauma to the coccyx such as falling on to a seated position e.g. in sports such as skating.
  • Childbirth may also cause fracture to the coccyx.
  • As a person ages, their bones become more brittle making them more susceptible to fracture.
  • It is more common in females than males, as females have a broader pelvis making them more prone to coccyx injury or fracture.
  • Nutritional deficiencies result in weaker bones making the coccyx more susceptible to fracture.
  • Bone disorders such as osteoporosis predispose an individual to coccyx fracture.
  • Decreased muscle mass in the coccyx area may also cause fracture.

Treatment of a Broken Tailbone

  • In case of a fractured coccyx, patient should seek medical help immediately.
  • Physical exam comprising of rectal and neurological exam is done.
  • An X-ray, MRI or CT scan helps in confirming the diagnosis.
  • Rest is advised as it is the best treatment in many cases.
  • High fiber diet should be consumed to prevent constipation.
  • Pain killers may be taken to alleviate the pain.
  • Stool softeners can be taken to make bowel movements more pain free.
  • Patient should sit more on hard surfaces as this reduces the pressure on the coccyx.
  • A ring or donut cushion should be used while sitting to take off the pressure from the coccyx.
  • Surgery may be required for displaced fractures.
  • If the pain continues then a coccygectomy may be done in which the coccyx is removed surgically.
Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: December 6, 2017

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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