Signs and symptoms of sacral stress fractures

Updated April 17, 2017

The sacrum is a triangular bone located at the base of the spine, connecting to the pelvis. A sacral stress fracture consists of a small break in the sacrum region. Stress fractures in the sacral area are usually caused by medical conditions that can make the bones weaker or repeated, vigorous physical activity. Conditions that affect bone density, such as osteoporosis, can also cause sacral stress fractures.

Physical pain caused by activity

People who have a sacral stress fracture often have pain with most types of physical activity. There may be a noticeable limp, or pain when walking or during simple and customary bodily movements. Also, performing any sort of physical activity associated with various forms of exercise, such as jogging, running, lifting weights, yoga or dancing may cause noticeable pain. While sitting, climbing, running or jumping, the pain can be more pronounced or worsen. Other body reflexes such as coughing and sneezing can also intensify pain.

Range of motion

The range of motion of the body is usually affected with sacral stress fractures. The hip region in particular may be affected with a markedly decreased range of motion for no apparent other reason. There can also be tenderness present with even the most limited touch to many areas of the body. While standing on one leg, there can be soreness and pain on the affected side of the body.

Back pain

Back pain is one of the most common complaints associated with a sacral stress fracture. The low back and lumbar region may be particularly affected and vulnerable, and movement in that region may be limited due to discomfort.

Hip, groin, buttock and pelvic pain

Pain may be noticeable in the groin, thigh and buttock regions. Often, there is also a distinct and direct tenderness around the pubic area. The gluteal muscles may feel strained and sore, particularly during movement.


Sacral fractures can occur for elderly people, particularly those with osteoporosis. Sometimes, the injuries are the result of falling or may not be associated with any particular injury. Those afflicted commonly complain of low back and buttock pain symptoms.


Because a sacral stress fracture involves the lumbar region of the back, as does sciatica, both conditions may be present simultaneously. Sciatica usually affects one side of the body. Similar to a sacral stress fracture, symptoms, such as dull, burning or sharp intermittent shooting pains in the buttock to the thigh or leg can occur. Sitting, followed by trying to stand up may also be painful.

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About the Author

Susan S. Davis is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the L.A. Press Club. She was managing editor of "The Hosting News" and a columnist at Online Dating Magazine. Davis attended Chicago's Medill School of Journalism, and holds an A.A.S. in radio broadcasting from Minnesota Business College and a certificate in paralegal studies from University of California, Los Angeles.