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Fracture Coccyx


The coccyx, commonly known as the tailbone, is directly at the end of the vertebrae column. Within the tailbone, there are four vertebrae fused together to create a slight curve towards the pelvis. Women are usually prone to fractures of the tailbone more than men, simply because the hips are wider and the tailbone is subjected to more exposure. Though healing time is slow, treatment is effective.


A fracture in the tailbone is often caused by direct impact to the coccyx. Injuries include:

  • Falling directly onto the buttocks, applying force to the tailbone
  • Direct trauma to the tailbone
  • Friction to the coccyx through sports, such as cycling
  • The tailbone of a newborn may be fractured as it moves through the birthing canal

There are various factors that increase your chances of a tailbone fracture, including:

  • Gender – typically females are more prone to fractures of the coccyx
  • Osteoporosis
  • Poor balance or stability
  • Involvement in contact sports or activities where you are prone to falling


A fracture of the tailbone can indicate the following symptoms:

  • Tenderness in the buttock area, directly over the coccyx
  • Pain or increased pain during bowel movements
  • Increased pain when sitting
  • Bruising may appear if there was a traumatic injury to the site


If you should experience any of the pain associated with a fractured tailbone, it is essential that you are observed by a doctor. A doctor will use the following steps to determine a diagnosis:

  • Physical exam
  • Rectal exam
  • X-rays


Since the coccyx is hard to reach, treatment for a fracture typically revolves around managing the pain associated until the bone heals. Your physician may recommend you stay immobile for a few days after the injury to lessen the pain. Ways to manage pain as the tailbone heals include:

  • Stool softeners to alleviate pain when using the bathroom
  • Sitz bath to alleviate pain due to muscle spasms around the tailbone
  • Sitting on a doughnut pad to alleviate pressure from the tailbone


Surgery is the final resort if severe pain does not subside after time. Surgical treatments are very uncommon and usually not successful. Steroid injections may be suggested over surgery in cases of extreme pain, though pain associated with a fractured tailbone typically decreases over time.