Pelvic Fracture PhysiotherapyBy Nigel Chua
A pelvic fracture refers to a crack or break in one or more bones in the pelvis.
These types of fractures can cause
- pain and difficulty with walking or standing
- in some cases, bleeding from pelvic cavities due to the fracture’s close proximity to major blood vessels
- difficulty urinating.
Thankfully, pelvic fractures are relatively rare, making up 0.3% to 6% of all fractures.
They are most common in people aged 15 to 28 years. Before the age of 35, males experience a higher incidence of pelvic fractures than females. After 35, females experience pelvic fractures more often than males.
Our senior physiotherapists help people with pelvic fractures
- reduce their pain
- restore their strength, mobility, balance, and function.
WHAT IS A PELVIC FRACTURE (HIP FRACTURE)?
A pelvic fracture is a crack or break in one or more of the pelvic bones, which are located at the base of your spine. When you "put your hands on your hips," your hands are actually resting on one of your pelvic bones, the ilium.
Our pelvis consists of 3 bones:
The acetabulum (hip socket) connects the pelvis to the hip bone, which forms the hip joint. The pelvis can fracture in any of these locations.
A pelvic fracture can result from a low-impact or high-impact event.
Low-impact pelvic fractures most commonly occur in two age groups:
- the elderly
Adolescents typically experience fractures of the ilium resulting from an athletic or sports injury (e.g. football, hockey, skiing) or an activity such as jogging. Pelvic stress fractures also can occur from repetitive impact activities, such as ballet or gymnastics.
Elderly people can experience pelvic fractures after minor falls if they have osteoporosis, or simply because their bones have become porous, thinned out and weakened. In some cases, spontaneous fractures (without an apparent outside cause) can occur in people with weakened bones; cancer also can weaken the pelvic bones and lead to a fracture.
The elderly frequently have fractures of the thicker part of the pelvic bones.
These "pelvic ring fractures" result from falling onto the side of the hip. These types of falls can be caused by
- balance problems
- vision problems
- medication side effects
- general frailty
- encountering unintended obstacles such as pets underfoot, slippery floors, or unanchored throw rugs.
Low-impact pelvic fractures often are considered to be mild fractures; they may heal with several weeks of rest. Our senior physiotherapists help individuals with low-impact pelvic fractures
- restore their strength
- restore their range of motion
- restore their balance.
High-impact pelvic fractures most commonly result from major incidents such as
- motor vehicle accidents
- a pedestrian being struck by a vehicle
- a fall from a high place.
These pelvic fractures can be life-threatening, require emergency care and surgery, and extensive pelvic physiotherapy rehabilitation.
Our senior physiotherapists work with people recovering from pelvic fractures immediately following surgery, and continue treatment until their movement, strength, and balance are restored to their fullest potential.
HOW OUR SENIOR PHYSIOTHERAPISTS CAN HELP
Pelvic fracture recovery may involve surgery, prolonged immobilization, or long periods of relative inactivity. Athletes must avoid all sport activities until their pelvic pain has resolved. During these periods of rest, which usually last for weeks to months, patients often lose
- balance abilities.
Physical therapists can help you recover from a pelvic fracture by improving your
- Pain level
- Hip, spine, and leg motion
- Speed of healing
- Speed of return to activity and sport.
When you are cleared by your orthopedic doctor to begin your pelvic fracture physiotherapy, our senior physiotherapist will design a specific treatment program to speed up your recovery, including exercises and treatments you can do at home. This program will help you reach your recovery goals and return to your normal life and activities.
First 24 to 48 Hours
Following a pelvic fracture, we may help you learn to use an assistive device so you can move around your home without walking on the leg of the injured side. This will more commonly apply to low-impact pelvic fractures. More severe pelvic fractures may require you to initially use a wheelchair; we can instruct you in its safe usage.
We will design an individualized rehabilitation program to address your specific condition and goals. It may include treatments to:
We may use different types of treatments and technologies to control and reduce your pain, including:
- cold therapy
- heat therapy
- ultrasound therapy
- radio-frequency Indiba physiotherapy
- electrical stimulation
- stretching exercises
- strengthening exercises
- joint mobilization
- special hands-on techniques called “manual therapy” that gently move your muscles and joints.
We will choose specific activities and treatments to help restore normal movement in the leg and hip. These might start with passive motions that we will apply to your leg and hip joint, and progress to active exercises and stretches that you perform yourself. Treatment can involve manual therapy to improve muscle flexibility and to increase mobility in your
Certain exercises will benefit your healing at each stage of recovery. As your healing progresses, and based on your age, strength, and health status, we will choose and teach you an individualized exercise program that will help to restore your strength, power, and agility.
These exercises may be performed using free weights, resistance bands, weight-lifting equipment, and cardio exercise machines, such as treadmills and stationary bicycles. Muscles of the hip and core are often targeted following a pelvic fracture.
The hip area contains many muscles that are vital for balance and steadiness when walking or performing any activity. We will teach you effective exercises to restore their strength and endurance to help you regain your balance.
Speed up recovery time
We're trained and experienced in choosing the treatments and exercises to help you heal, get back to your normal life, and reach your goals faster than you might be able to do on your own.
Promote a safe return to activities
We will collaborate with you to decide on your recovery goals, including your return to work and sport. Your treatment program will be designed to help you reach your goals in the safest, fastest, and most effective way possible.
We may teach you sport-specific exercises and work retraining activities, depending on your specific situation. Athletes will be taught sport-specific techniques and drills to help achieve their goals.
Prevent fatigue and promote walking
We can recommend a home-exercise program to strengthen and stretch the muscles around your hip, upper leg, and core to help prevent future problems, such as fatigue and walking difficulty.
Your pelvic fracture physiotherapy program may include strength and flexibility exercises for the hip, thigh, and core muscles.
We will review with you and your family ways to prevent falls in your home.
These fall-prevention strategies may include clearing the floors of loose obstacles (e.g. throw rugs, mats), placing sticky mats in the shower and on the bathroom floor, installing grab bars or rails for the shower, toilet, and stairs, wearing nonslip house shoes, and preventing pets from walking near your feet.
If surgery Is necessary
If surgery is required, our senior physiotherapists will help you with post-surgery physiotherapy to
- minimize pain
- restore motion and strength
- return to normal activities in the safest and speediest manner possible after surgery.