How to tell if you have a fractured pelvis

Written by rebecca scarlett
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How to tell if you have a fractured pelvis
A fractured pelvis is a very serious injury. (X-ray image by JASON WINTER from

A pelvic fracture, when one of the bones in the pelvis is broken, can be caused by a fall from a height or a severe impact. In the elderly or those with a bone-weakening disease such as osteoporosis, the severity of the impact needed to cause a fracture may be less. The only way for certain to know if you have a pelvic fracture is to be properly diagnosed by a doctor. However, there are many signs and symptoms to check for if you suspect you many have fractured your pelvis, and knowing how to recognise these indicators will help you decide if you need to take a trip to the emergency room for X-rays and proper medical care.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Think about how you obtained your current injury. Did you fall from a height, or suffer a hard impact like you might experience in a car crash?

  2. 2

    Take into account any medical problems you might have that weaken bones, such as osteoporosis.

  3. 3

    Recall any minor falls that may have occurred recently if you have such a medical condition, as a more minor impact may cause pelvic fractures in the elderly or sufferers of osteoporosis.

  4. 4

    Observe your urine for blood. Blood may also exit from the rectum if your pelvis is fractured.

  5. 5

    Look at your lower abdomen and pelvic area for bleeding, or places where a bone has broken through the skin.

  6. 6

    Check your lower abdomen for swelling, bruises or dark, hot tender areas, which indicate internal bleeding.

  7. 7

    Make note of any pain when sitting, standing, walking, or changing position.

  8. 8

    Observe your motions to discover if you are favouring one leg, or keeping your knee or hip in a certain position to minimise pain.

  9. 9

    Suspect a pelvic injury if any of these signs or symptoms are combined with feeling cold, dizzy, weak or light headed, which can indicate that you are in shock.

Tips and warnings

  • A pelvic fracture is a very serious injury which can cause unconsciousness or even death if not treated. If you even suspect you have a pelvic fracture, you should call for an ambulance, as it is important to remain perfectly still to avoid worsening the internal injury.
  • If you are trying to determine whether another person has a pelvic fracture or not, remember that signs of a pelvic fracture are things you will be able to see, while symptoms are what the victim of the injury feels. If the victim is not conscious enough to answer questions, you will only be able to check for signs of pelvic injury. In the event that the victim is not conscious enough to answer questions, an ambulance should always be summoned.
  • This article is for information purposes only and is not to be considered medical advice. Only a qualified professional can diagnose a pelvic fracture.

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