Coccyx Fracture

(Tailbone Fracture; Broken Tailbone)

Definition

A coccyx fracture is a broken tailbone. The coccyx is the lowest part of the backbone or spine. It is small and shaped like a triangle. The bone curves gently from the end of the spine into the pelvis.
The Coccyx
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Causes

Coccyx fracture is caused by trauma. Trauma may be caused by:
  • Falls
  • Childbirth, which may result in a newborn breaking the mother's coccyx
Fractures may may also occur during straining or friction, such as with rowing or bike riding.

Risk Factors

Coccyx fractures are more common in women. Other risk factors that may increase your chance of a coccyx fracture include:
  • Increased age
  • Osteoporosis
  • Certain diseases or conditions that result in bone or mineral loss, such as abnormal or absent menstrual cycles or menopause
  • Decreased muscle mass
  • Certain congenital bone conditions
  • Participating in certain activities, such as skating or contact sports that may lead to falls in a seated position
  • Violence

Symptoms

A coccyx fracture may cause:
  • Pain that increases with sitting or getting up from a chair
  • Pain that increases during a bowel movement
  • Tenderness over the tailbone

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and how the injury occurred. A physical exam will be done. The exam may include a rectal exam. If the coccyx is fractured, your doctor may feel abnormal movement of the coccyx. You will experience pain. X-rays may or may not be needed.

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