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(Tailbone Fracture; Broken Tailbone)
A coccyx fracture is a break in the tailbone. This is the lowest part of the spine.
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This injury is caused by trauma from:
- A blow to the tailbone
- The childbirth process
It can also happen when straining or from friction, such as when rowing or biking.
Things that may raise your risk are:
- Having a health problem that may result in falls, such as weak muscles
- Having a health problem that may weaken bones, such asosteoporosis
- Playing contact sports, such as hockey
Symptoms may be:
- Pain that is worse when sitting
- Pain that is worse during a bowel movement
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. The doctor will also ask how the injury happened. A physical exam will be done, focusing on your spine. A rectal exam may also be done. X-rays may or may not be needed.
The fracture will need time to heal on its own. This can take 8 to 12 weeks. Medicine can help ease pain and swelling.
Surgery for this injury is rare. It may be done to remove the coccyx when all other options have been tried.
Most fractures are due to accidents. Healthy bones and muscles may prevent injury. This may be done through diet and exercise.
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Acute low back pain. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/acute-low-back-pain. Updated November 12, 2018. Accessed September 24, 2019.
Low back pain. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00311. Updated December 2013. Accessed September 24, 2019.
Qaseem A, Wilt TJ, et al. Noninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain: A Clinical Practice Guideline From the American College of Physicians. Ann Intern Med. 2017 Apr 4;166(7):514-530.
Spinal cord injury—acute management. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/spinal-cord-injury-acute-management. Updated September 24, 2019.
Types of fractured coccyx. Cure Back Pain website. Available at: http://www.cure-back-pain.org/fractured-coccyx.html. Accessed September 24, 2019.
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Warren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM
- Review Date: 09/2019
- Update Date: 08/14/2020