The pelvis is a ring of bone at hip level, made up of several separate bones. A pelvic fracture is a break in any one of those bones. Some pelvic fractures involve breaking more than one of the bones, and these are particularly serious as the bones are more likely to slip out of line.
Some anatomy of the pelvis
What types of pelvic fracture are there?
Pelvic fractures fall into four main areas:
- Major, unstable pelvic fractures (usually due to major trauma).
- Simple, stable pelvic fractures (due to less severe trauma).
- Pelvic avulsion fractures (when a strong muscle pulls a chip of bone off the pelvis).
- Pelvic stress fractures (partial-thickness hairline cracks caused by repeated stress).
This leaflet covers all four types of pelvic fracture.
How serious is a pelvic fracture?
The seriousness of a pelvic fracture depends on how many bones are broken and how badly, and on what injuries may have occurred to the organs inside the pelvis. Pelvic fractures therefore range enormously in severity, from fairly minor to life-threatening.
Will I walk again?
Most people who experience pelvic fracture walk again after a few months. Recovery will be quicker if the fracture is less severe and if you are younger and fitter, or if you have healthy active muscles. Sometimes, major pelvic fracture can affect your mobility in the long term.