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Symptoms of a Broken Tailbone

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The tailbone is easily injured in a fall, but you can bruise or even fracture your tailbone in a crash, while cycling, or during childbirth. For most people, a bruised or fractured tailbone is “simply” a very painful injury that heals in one to three months. 

For a small number, it’s the start of a chronic, potentially lifelong condition that makes it difficult to sit, stand up, bend, and even use the restroom without immense pain.

The Structure and Function of the Tailbone

The tailbone or coccyx is the final portion of the spine. It’s below the sacrum portion and made up of three to five small bones that are fused together. In most people, the coccyx has four fused bones, but some people have three or five bones. While seated, much of your upper body weight is resting on the coccyx. 

The coccyx curves inward, but the curvature degree varies by person. Some types of morphology or differences in structure may increase the risk of injury and coccygeal pain. 

This small part of the spine plays two critical roles. It gives weight-bearing support while seated, supports the anus, and it’s the attachment point for several hip and pelvic ligaments, muscles, and tendons. These muscles and ligaments help with voluntary bowel function and support the pelvic floor.

Bruised Versus Fractured Tailbone

Coccyx trauma may be a bruise or a fracture of the actual coccyx bone. It can be hard to tell the difference based on symptoms alone: the symptoms are very similar, but a fracture may be more intense. 

A bruised tailbone is a much more common injury than a fractured tailbone which is a fairly rare fracture. 

A fractured coccyx takes about 8 to 12 weeks to heal. A bruised tailbone heals in about four weeks.

A physical examination and X-rays are used to diagnose a bruised or fractured coccyx. During the physical exam, the physician will feel for pointy new bone growth or bone spicules that may be causing pain. 

A rectal exam may also be used to diagnose the cause of pain. During the exam, the physician uses their thumb and forefinger to grasp the coccyx and move it to determine the amount of mobility. A normal range of motion is 13 degrees. A coccyx that moves too little or too much can be the source of pain.

Symptoms of a Broken Tailbone

Symptoms that indicate you have a bruised or fractured tailbone include the following: 

  • Constant, dull pain just above the buttocks 
  • Pain that intensifies when crouching, lying down, leaning back, sitting, or getting up
  • Numbness or tingling in the tailbone area that may radiate down the legs
  • Painful and/or irregular bowel movements
  • Bruising or swelling around the tailbone

A broken tailbone isn’t a life-threatening injury, but it’s incredibly painful. Sleeping, sitting, and using the restroom can be difficult and painful for up to 12 weeks while the fracture heals. 

Coccydynia, or pain around the coccyx, is the most common symptom of a broken tailbone. For most people, coccygeal pain resolves on its own or with conservative treatment within a few months. For some people, it becomes chronic, debilitating pain. 

What Causes a Fractured Coccyx?

Injuries to the tailbone are often caused by a serious fall

Other causes of a tailbone fracture include: 

  • Prolonged sitting on hard or narrow surfaces
  • Impact to the coccyx
  • A car accident or other traffic accident
  • Childbirth due to internal trauma
  • Repetitive friction or straining against the tailbone, such as bicycling

Women are at the highest risk of tailbone fractures, especially older women or women who are pregnant or giving birth. People who are obese are three times more likely to experience coccydynia or coccygeal pain. This is due to anatomical reasons: in obese people, the coccyx and pelvis rotate less while seated which increases stress on the more fragile tip of the coccyx. 

A Personal Injury Can Help You Navigate a Broken Tailbone Claim

A tailbone injury can mean weeks or months off work and potentially chronic pain. If someone else’s negligence caused your injury, you should not face this financial burden. If you have suffered a broken tailbone in a slip and fall or auto accident, you may be entitled to compensation from the party responsible for your injury.

A personal injury lawyer can help you explore your legal options for recovering compensation after a broken tailbone.

Speak with a Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawers at De Castroverde Accident & Injury LawyersFor Help Today

If you’ve been injured in Las Vegas, Nevada, and need legal help contact our Las Vegas personal injury attorneys at De Castroverde Accident & Injury Lawyers by calling (702) 222-9999 to schedule a free case evaluation today.

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De Castroverde Accident & Injury Lawyers, located in Las Vegas, NV, is a personal injury law firm established over 30 years ago.
We have 100+ years of combined experience securing hundreds of millions for injured people throughout Nevada. If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, contact us today to discuss your case.

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