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Sacral Fractures

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Updated August 20, 2005

Definition:

What types of sacral fractures occur?
The most common types of sacral fractures include:

  • Sacral Stress Fractures
    A sacral stress fracture occurs in young, active patients, commonly seen in female long-distance runners. These injuries are closely related to sacral insufficiency fractures described below, but the bone is usually not osteoporotic. Rather than the bone not being healthy enough, the activities simply are too much for the sacrum to resist, and a stress fracture results.

    Symptoms of a sacral stress fracture most commonly include back and buttock pain, and pain with activities such as running. Treatment must include resting from activities that cause pain. Usually with a period of rest, the symptoms will resolve. Gradual resumption of activities is important to prevent a recurrence.

  • Sacral Insufficiency Fractures
    Sacral insufficiency fractures occur in elderly patients with osteoporosis. These injuries may be the result of a fall or may be the result of no particular injury. Patients commonly complain of symptoms of low back and buttock pain.

    Sacral insufficiency fractures may not be seen on regular x-rays, but usually show up on MRI or CT scans of the pelvis. The treatment of a sacral insufficiency fracture is usually symptomatic relief with rest and assistive devices such as a walker or cane.

  • Traumatic Sacral Fractures
    Traumatic fractures of the sacrum can occur with pelvic fractures. These injuries commonly occur in car accidents and severe falls.

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