A pelvic fracture happens when one or more bones around your pelvis break. Usually, it occurs during a major traumatic accident, such as a car accident or a fall from a height. Injuries from such cases can be life-threatening and may require immediate medical treatment.
On the other hand, a pelvic injury may be caused by less traumatic events, such as simple falls or trips, and age-related bone conditions like osteoporosis. This makes older adults more prone to fractures.
The symptoms of a damaged pelvis may range in severity, from mild to life-threatening conditions. Nevertheless, both need immediate treatment to prevent it from worsening. Here are the following ways pelvic injuries may be managed:
The acronym RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation for mild to moderate injuries. Here’s how the process works:
In cases of suspected or actual pelvic fracture, a Pelvic Sling can support the broken pelvis in place. This is similar to a belt used by paramedics to secure and prevent further damage to the affected area.
Your doctor may recommend using walking aids , depending on which area of your pelvis has been injured. This is for people who can’t bear the weight of their upper body using their pelvis or can’t walk and stand properly.
Walking aids include wheelchairs, crutches, and walkers. Usually, doctors may advise their patients to use these until their injuries are fully healed.
One of the most common treatments your doctor may advise you to do is taking medications. Depending on your condition, local anesthetics or strong painkillers may be necessary. Your attending physician may give you epidural anesthesia to aid you in managing the pain.
Doctors may also require you to take blood thinners or anti-coagulant to prevent your blood from clotting, especially around the veins of your pelvis and legs. This is important as pelvic injuries and fractures can accelerate blood clots.
Furthermore, your doctor may not advise you to take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as naproxen sodium and ibuprofen. They may effectively reduce pain and inflammation, but they may also prevent the bone from healing properly.
Physical therapy is a non-surgical treatment that promotes the healing process of an injured pelvis. It’s usually advised for patients suffering from mild pelvic injuries.
In addition, physical therapy may be recommended after the surgery to help accelerate the natural healing process. However, your doctor may only advise physical therapy if the bones are healed as such is more for the rehabilitation aspect of the treatment.
During the physical therapy session, the therapist will help you learn some exercises to maintain your range of motion and strength. For example, doing leg and hamstring stretches may restore the strength of your muscles and prevent them from becoming stiff.
External pelvic fixation is a surgical procedure that aims to keep your pelvis stable, especially after blood loss. During the process, the surgeon first administers the anesthesia. Then, they’ll cut a small incision to have access to the pelvic bone.
Thereafter, the surgeon will insert long screws or metal pins into your bone. These will stick out of your body and will be connected to a large metal frame outside your body. This frame will act as a stabilizer to keep the bones in the right position and let them heal completely.
Pelvic traction utilizes a pulley mechanism to realign broken bones and keep them in proper position. It uses force to bring broken bones to stick to each other. During the surgery, the surgeon will implant metal screws or pins in your shinbone or thighbone to improve the position of your legs.
On top of that, the surgeon will also attach weights to help the pins pull on your legs in a gentle and careful manner. This will keep the bone fragments in a much better position.
Internal pelvic fixation is another process that’ll help you keep your bones in place. During this surgery, bone fragments will be realigned to their proper position. Then, they’ll be grouped together using metal plates, pins, or screws. This will help your pelvis to stay stable during the healing process. This process is highly likely to be recommended if you have multiple fractures.
Pelvic injuries result from mild to severe traumatic events that cause enough damage to the pelvic bone. Another cause of pelvic injuries is osteoporosis, which can be seen mostly in older adults.
If the pelvic injury or fracture is manageable, doctors recommend that the patients receive non-surgical treatments, such as medications, physical therapy, the RICE method, and walking aids. Otherwise, they’ll need to undergo surgical operations, including external and internal pelvic fixation and pelvic traction.
During the healing process, follow all that your doctor has instructed you to do. Ignoring advice may only worsen your condition and prolong the healing process.